Lower Costs, Filling Holes Key

Lower costs are key to the final T-X requirements released last week, along with filling the holes in training of future fighter and bomber pilots who can’t learn all the skills they need from the aging T-38. The unclassified T-X requirements number just over 100, but focus on sustained G, simulator fidelity, and sustainment. The T-X engine is to be at least 10 percent more fuel efficient than the T-38’s J85 engines, and the aircraft must be at least adaptable to being fitted with aerial refueling gear; built-in air refueling capability is preferred. USAF is asking for an airplane with all the “switchology” to simulate weapons release for both air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, although the only required external stores capacity required is for a “weapon systems support pod” and a travel pod. The cockpits are to have “large area displays” and lighting is to be compatible with night vision goggles and other night imaging systems. Both cockpits are to have identical displays and controls. The aircraft is to have terrain and collision avoidance gear and be able to fly at a minimum 20 degrees angle of attack and a desired 25 degrees alpha. It’s to have a dry crosswind performance of 25 knots and wet runway performance of 20 knots. The cockpit is to be able to accommodate the same size range of people as the T-6, and be compatible with a full-body anti-g suit.