Raytheon will assemble the T-100 in Meridian, Miss., if it wins the Air Force’s T-X competition, the company announced Monday. The T-100 is a tailored version of the Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica) M-346 Master and would be powered by two Honeywell F124 engines. Rick Yuse, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said the site was chosen for final assembly because it “provides the right blend of infrastructure, proximity to our customers, government support, and a talent base that’s ready for the high tech jobs critical to our success,” according to a Raytheon release. CAE USA, Inc., which does modeling and simulation work, is also part of Raytheon’s T-100 team. Lockheed Martin will complete assembly of its entrant to replace the 50-plus-year-old T-38, the T-50A, at a Greenville, S.C., facility. Boeing hasn’t announced where the final assembly of its and Saab’s entrant for the T-X would occur if it wins, and Northrop Grumman hasn’t made any formal disclosures about its jet yet.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.