It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A Northrop Grumman-led team is dashing its plan to propose a modified BAE Systems Hawk trainer for the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 replacement program, opting instead for a clean-sheet design for the $1 billion program.
The shift is more bold than it is surprising. The team is paying for a brand-new prototype despite a slump in defense spending. But it has become increasingly evident that the Hawk is unsuited for the mission due to shortfalls in the fast-jet trainer’s ability to sustain Gs, perform high angle-of-attack maneuvering and execute tight turn rate and radius.
Scaled Composites, wholly owned by Northrop Grumman since its purchase in 2007, formed a small team to build a suitable aircraft from the ground up.
The so-called T-X will eventually be used to train future F-22 and F-35 pilots with advanced skills. Adding to the requirements is an Air Force decision in the fiscal 2016 budget plan to expand T-X to cover a requirement for a new “red air” aggressor “stores aircraft interface” kit to include adding a radar, datalink and hard points for weapons and a jamming pod. The T-X aggressors will replace F-16Cs used in that role now at the Air Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nevada. The Hawk would be unable to meet the demands of an aggressor aircraft.
The “red air” T-X is needed to tax the technology and skills of future F-22 and F-35 pilots, says Col. Adrian Spain, commandant of the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis. During live-fly training, the aggressors not only use enemy tactics but the aircraft must also emulate adversary platforms well enough to “fool” the Air Force’s aircraft into “thinking” they are an actual enemy system.
“The potential near-peer threat has improved pretty substantially over the last decade, [and] we want to be able to replicate that threat here so we can train against a threat that is realistic and relevant,” Spain tells Aviation Week. “With an older, fourth-gen system, you can probably trick it into thinking [an aggressor] is something else. But in an F-35 and an F-22, the sensors are advanced enough that they’ll know the difference. So we need to have capability on the range to fly against.”
originally posted by: Kukri
With the inclusion of the :aggressor" role would this platform be practical for a lower cost CAS role also. Possibly even constructing a dedicated low threat environment replacement for the venerable A10?
originally posted by: aholic
a reply to: boomer135
I'm more than very worried about LM/BA having a monopoly on all of this. One of my insiders has painted a scenario where Boeing absorbs NG and we are left with two primes. From what I've more than heard the DoD is on this and are actively trying to dissolve the TACAIR game the into a two prime market.
A two contractor market allows for super-normal profits and a good-cop-bad-cop option for the Air Force.
It is and I've speculated that Boeing and Lockheed had word of this, which is why they teamed up against Northrop. The Pentagon has been trying to get rid of NG from some time now and they've been paying attention. After this competition, Boeing and LM will part ways happily becoming the two primaries for the Pentagon, having taken down Northrop together. Boeing will pick up whatever is left of NG and we will have a two prime market.
The LRS-B will be touted as a mainly Boeing achievement and with this "new" experience they will take over modification and maintenance on the current B-2 fleet as the -52's are phased out. See how this works? The Northrop areas of Plant 42 will be turned over to Boeing, not LM. Mark my words.
NG will retain some radar and unmanned vehicle control surface programs but their aircraft division will be lost. This includes the T-X, sorry fellas.
This is what I've heard.