BAE Systems revealed L-3 Link Simulation & Training as its partner to provide the ground-based training system for BAE’s Hawk Advanced Jet Training System (AJTS), proposed for the U.S. Air Force T-X jet trainer replacement program. L-3 Link, based in Arlington, Texas, joins Northrop Grumman as announced partners on the BAE pursuit team.
The T-X requirement is for 350 jets to serve as lead-in trainers for the fifth generation F-22 and F-35 fighters, replacing Northrop Grumman’s aging T-38C Talon. BAE’s Hawk AJTS is based on the Hawk TMk2 flown by the UK Royal Air Force as a lead-in trainer for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The U.S. Air Force program, valued at $10 billion, is expected to draw competition from Alenia Aermacchi, with the M-346, and Korean Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin, with the T-50 Golden Eagle.
Whether the T-X program survives the anticipated deep cuts in defense spending remains an open question. The request for proposals is expected sometime after release of the Fiscal Year 2013 defense budget proposal in early February. “I think it’s an important priority, although the Air Force has others and we understand that,” said Robert Wood, BAE Systems vice president and Hawk AJTS lead.
The U.S. Air Force has identified sensor management, or the ability to manage the complex systems of fifth-generation fighters, as a gap in its current training capability. Integrating live and synthetic air- and ground-based elements, the Hawk AJTS is the only fully integrated off-the-shelf training system in service today, BAE said. The three components of the system are an enterprise learning architecture, ground-based training system and the aircraft itself.
Wood said the partner companies continue to evaluate locations to manufacture the Hawk AJTS in the U.S., should it be selected.