Boeing's T-X trainer has been selected to replace the T-38 Talon jets used to train U.S. Air Force pilots since the early 1960s.
The branch has used its current training jet model for almost 60 years.
Because Boeing lost the F-35 jet fighter contract to Lockheed, and the B-21 Air Force stealth-bomber contract to Northrop Grumman, the T-X competition loomed as a must-win if Boeing was to stay in military-aircraft production.
The Secretary of the Air Force says the new aircraft will provide the "advanced training capabilities" it needs "to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots".
On Monday, Boeing was awarded a job valued at as much as $2.38 billion for as many as 84 new helicopters to guard intercontinental ballistic missile sites in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.
The service's target date for reach initial operational capability with the T-X is 2024. Lockheed, the manufacturer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is the world's largest defense contractor by a wide margin, taking in $50 billion in US contract dollars past year compared with Boeing's $23 billion.
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The contract includes the initial delivery order for engineering and manufacturing development of Advanced Pilot Training aircraft and ground-based training systems for $813 million.
The original service-cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft.
The contract win "is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system centered on the unique requirements of the U.S. Air Force", added Caret, a two-time Wash100 recipient.
The Air Force took a number of steps ahead of the T-X program to boost competition and buy down risk, service acquisition officials told reporters September 27 at the Pentagon.
The Boeing T-X at its official unveiling in 2016.
Boeing partnered with Sweden's Saab on the winning T-X bid, beating out several other top military contractors, including Lockheed Martin, whose aeronautics division is headquartered in Fort Worth. "We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century".
The trainer aircraft was designed from scratch in partnership with Saab, drawing on technology from the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen fighter. Lockheed Martin teamed with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to offer KAI's T-50A.