No Aggressor, But Built-In Adaptability

The requirements for the Air Force’s T-X trainer don’t call for the airplane to be capable of the aggressor mission, but the jet is to have sufficient space, weight, power, and cooling to accommodate that role in the future. Lt. Gen Tod Wolters, deputy chief of staff for operations, told the Senate Armed Services airland panel on March 19 that it’s “too early” to look at the T-X for the aggressor role, noting F-16s are doing the mission “most cost effectively” for the near-term. However, USAF may want to consider the T-X in the aggressor role “at some point.” William LaPlante, service acquisition executive, said USAF ensured the requirements didn’t “limit our options” regarding future T-X applications. Air Education and Training Command said March 20 there is $40 million across the future years defense plan under “stores-aircraft interface” “to provide future planning or development options related to T-X.” Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, said a T-X variant “is just one option for ‘Red Air’ if we decide there’s a requirement for it.” (LaPlante/Holmes prepared testimony)