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Air Force releases RFP, replaces T-38

Second Lt. Duston Obrien, 435th Fighter Training Squadron upgrade pilot, and Maj. Gavin Peterson, 435th FTS instructor pilot, prepare to take off in a T-38 Talon at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 3, 2015. The 435th Fighter Training Squadron conducts Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals student training in nearly 50 T-38C Talon aircraft and trains IFF instructors for Air Education and Training Command at large. The 435th FTS trains approximately 150 students annually from the United States, Iraq, Japan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Second Lt. Duston Obrien, 435th Fighter Training Squadron upgrade pilot, and Maj. Gavin Peterson, 435th FTS instructor pilot, prepare to take off in a T-38 Talon at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 3, 2015. The Air Force is on its way to replacing the fifty-five year old T-38 with the December 30, 2016 release of the development request for proposal, or RFP, for the Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

The Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) program will provide student pilots in Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) advanced phase and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) with the skills and competencies required to transition into 4th- and 5th-generation fighter aircraft.

"Pilot training gaps widen and continue to do so every year as the service brings on more fifth generation aircraft," said Air Education and Training Command Commander Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson.

The Air Force is well on its way to replacing the fifty-five year old T-38 with the Dec. 30, 2016 release of the development request for proposal, or RFP, for the Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) program.

"This comes after extensive dialogue with industry as part of our Cost Capability Analysis," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. "T-X is one of our beta cases for CCA which is one of our many BTCC initiatives. Our dialogues have clarified RFP requirements and saved tens of millions of dollars in development cost and risk while still ensuring we acquire capability needed to train our next generation of pilots."

The release of the RFP follows receipt of an Acquisition Decision Memorandum, or ADM, signed by the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics on Dec. 5, 2016. This proposal solicitation is a full and open competition with an anticipated contract award in calendar year 2017, in support of Initial Operational Capability by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024, or earlier.

The $16.3 billion RFP includes all aspects of the system, including Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD), Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP), Full-Rate Production (FRP), and sustainment transition support. The RFP will lay the groundwork for delivery of the first five test aircraft. There are also contract options for LRIP lots #1-2, and FRP of lots #3-11 for a total of 350 aircraft.

In addition, provisions are included for ground support systems, such as training systems, mission planning and processing systems, support equipment and spares.

"Our ability to get the most out of our fifth-generation aircraft depends on success in the Advanced Pilot Training program," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein. "In terms of both providing realistic, holistic training and reducing flying hours on our fifth-generation platforms, T-X is a program we've got to get right."