New Trainer Should Free Up Fifth Gen Aircraft

The Air Force is looking for “as close a match” as possible between “fifth generation capabilities” and the new T-X trainer aircraft, says Gen. Edward Rice, Air Education and Training Command boss. Speaking with reporters Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Fla., Rice said this would include a combination of hardware and simulators. “If we do this right, we’ll be able to free up additional fifth generation assets from the training environment and put them back in the hands of the operators,” he said. That could mean deploying more F-22 Raptors or even F-35 strike fighters when they come online, he said. “That should be one of the objectives of the T-X,” he said. The Air Force wants to acquire T-X to replace its 50-year-old T-38 trainer for fighter and bomber pilots.