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Flying training commander gets first ride in next-gen fighter and bomber trainer

By Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | Dec. 4, 2018

ST. LOUIS, Missouri —

The 19th Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, became the first Air Force Airman to get a sortie and a first-hand look at the capabilities of the next-generation fighter and bomber trainer at Boeing’s St. Louis facilities Nov. 27. 

The T-X trainer, programmed to replace the T-38C Talon trainer, will help the service increase the lethality and readiness of future pilots in both undergraduate- and graduate-level training courses due to its advanced training capabilities.

“The T-X will revolutionize how we train pilots in the future. From the performance, flight characteristics, data management, avionics, higher angle of attack – the T-X brings a high level of realism, 5th generation capabilities and futuristic training concepts that we simply do not have at this time,” Doherty said. “I’m excited for the future of the flying training community and how it will make us more lethal, competitive, and agile with our production pipelines.”

The sortie included a thorough mission brief, flight, and debrief in the T-X trainer, as well as time in the T-X simulator, which will provide student pilots with the skills needed to transition to 4th and 5th generation fighter, bomber, and other future Mach-21 aircraft. 

The T-X and the accompanying modern simulators will enable a pilot training process that produces much more capable pilots at a rate that meets the needs of the Air Force for the next half century,” Doherty said.

The Air Force awarded Boeing the contract for the T-X in September 2018 and the service’s current plans include the purchase of 351 T-X trainers and 46 simulators, with the first arrivals scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023.

“The T-38 will continue to train our fighter and bomber students until the T-X fully replaces the vaunted Talon that has been in service nearly 60 years. However, as we look to the future and remaining the number one Air Force in the world, the T-X is a leap forward in preparing our pilots with the skills needed for future air warfare,” Doherty said.

All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas and Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma.