Lockheed Martin Flies First T-50A

Lockheed Martin successfully completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft. The T-50A is the company’s offering in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition. The T-50A builds on the T-50. There are more than 100
By
Lockheed Martin successfully completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft. The T-50A is the company’s offering in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition. The T-50A builds on the T-50. There are more than 100
By

Business

New Lockheed Martin trainer has strong ties to Fort Worth

August 20, 2016 03:18 PM

FORT WORTH

At Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, the talk usually revolves around ramping up production of the F-35 Lightning II or moving toward the end of the line for the famed F-16 Falcon.

But another airplane is being engineered at the Fort Worth plant that may play a big role in the company’s future: the T-50A trainer.

The T-50A, developed in partnership with Korean Aerospace Industries, will be offered by the company in the upcoming U.S. Air Force competition to replace the T-38 Talons, said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed’s executive vice president of aeronautics. The Air Force is looking to buy 350 new trainers.

The T-50A is a variant of the T-50, which was developed when South Korea was buying the F-16, Carvalho told the crowd at a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday.

Help us deliver journalism that makes a difference in our community.

Our journalism takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to produce. If you read and enjoy our journalism, please consider subscribing today.

While the aircraft will not be built in Cowtown — the company recently held a ribbon-cutting on a production facility in Greenville, South Carolina — its DNA is tied to the Fort Worth plant.

According to Lockheed, the T-50A has fighter capabilities, which are needed to eliminate the training gaps and inefficiencies faced by pilots who are learning to fly the highly advanced, fifth-generation fighters being produced by Lockheed and others.

“The design engineering, the sustainment engineering … will be done right here in Fort Worth, Texas,” Carvalho said. “While we won’t be doing the final assembly of the airplanes here, Fort Worth will continue to have a very big role in this program” assuming Lockheed is selected.

According to Lockheed, the T-50A has fighter capabilities, which are needed to eliminate the training gaps and inefficiencies faced by pilots who are learning to fly the highly advanced, fifth-generation fighters being produced by Lockheed and others.

“It is an incredibly high-performing airplane. It is an airplane that exists today, and the adaptation is very low risk,” Carvalho said. There are 100 T-50s flying today, and 1,000 pilots have been trained in them, according to Lockheed.

Carvalho said the company expects a decision by the Air Force by end of 2017 or possibly early 2018.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB