Monday, February 22, 2016

Raytheon-Finmeccanica to offer M-346 for USAF T-X trainer jet program

Raytheon has teamed with Italian Finmeccanica to offer latter's M-346 advanced trainer jet derived trainer to meet U.S. Air Force's requirement for a next generation pilot training aircraft.

The T-100 Integrated Air Training System will offer an advanced variant of the Aermacchi M-346 trainer jet, with a leading-edge Ground Based Training System.

The T-100 GBTS is designed to mimic 5th generation fighters. It uses the same operational flight program software as the actual aircraft, enabling training with the same aircraft feel even before a student takes flight.

The pilots will be immersed in a realistic, complex training environment with cutting-edge avionics and pilot-vehicle interfaces, including the ability to simulate tactical scenarios, sensors, threats and weapons while in flight.

The T-100 is capable of conducting sustained high-g operations, aerial refueling, night vision imaging and data-link operations. It is currently flown by Italian Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Israeli Air Force and Polish Air Force and has achieved nearly 10,000 flight hours.

The trainer will be manufactured in the United States.

The T-100 GBTS 
CAE USA will design and develop the simulation-based training systems and.Honeywell Aerospace will provide the twin, F124 turbofan powerplant via the International Turbine Engine Company (ITEC) joint venture.

Both companies have heritage of manufacturing trainer aircraft. Raytheon was the original manufacturer of the T-1 Jayhawk and the T-6 Texan II, both of which are used by USAF to train pilots and combat systems operators. Finmeccanica and its legacy companies have produced numerous trainers, including the MB-326 and the MB-339.

Other contenders for program include Northrop Grumman, Boeing-Saab team offering clean sheet designs and Lockheed Martin offering an advanced variant of the KAI T-50 trainer.

Decision regrading the requirement for around 500 trainer jets will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2017.