Air Force issues RFI for new advanced tactical trainer

By Courtney Albon / October 12, 2021 at 1:24 PM

The Air Force is looking for industry input on a possible competition to develop a new advanced tactical aircraft to train fighter pilots, according to a notice released today.

In a new request for information, the service indicates it is conducting market research for an advanced training aircraft that would support initial tactical training for fighter pilots, provide adversary air support and serve as a “tactical fighter surrogate of existing and future United States Air Force frontline fighters.”

Boeing is already on contract to develop an advanced trainer, the T-7A, to replace the current T-38 fleet, however the Air Force envisions the T-7A as being one element of an Advanced Pilot Training "family of systems." It's not immediately clear where this aircraft would fit into the APT architecture, though the RFI indicates aggressor support would be part of its mission.

The notice indicates the service is seeking feedback on the cost schedule and feasibility of delivering at least 100 aircraft “and for subsequent lots of 50 aircraft.” Responses are due by Nov. 23.

“The aircraft needs to simulate and/or replicate current and future fighter aircraft systems by providing the training environment and relevant experience to build transferable tactical skills, systems management skills and decision-making skills required for weapon system employment actions,” the RFI states.

The service is looking for a two-seat jet with secure, open architecture, large area displays and secure transmission capabilities, among other features. The service is also interested in a low-cost, helmet-mounted display, automatic ground collision avoidance system and generators “sufficient to power wing stations, antennas and avionics stations with sufficient growth capacity to support follow-on incorporation of electronic countermeasures, infrared sensor and radar or threat emulator capabilities.”

Air Combat Command did not immediately respond to a request for more details about the Air Force’s interested in a new tactical training aircraft.