Posts tagged ‘Northrop T-38C advanced jet trainer’

FRIDAY FOTO (January 3, 2020)

Gray (and Graying) Formation.

JBSA-Randolph focuses on building Instructor Pilot’s Skills

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Christopher Boitz)

Looking (from this angle) more like wingless, flying cars out of a science fiction movie, a trio of T-38C Talons travel in a tight formation over Texas. This December 19, 2019 photo was taken while the T-38s — which do have wings — were returning to Joint Base San Antonio after a training flight.

The Northrop T-38 was the world’s first supersonic advanced jet trainer and has served as the Air Force’s primary aircraft for training fighter pilots since 1961. The Air Force Air Education and Training Command uses the T-38C variant to prepare pilots for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor.

The twin-engine, high-altitude Talon has been used in a variety of roles because of its “design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record,” according to the January 2014 Air Force fact sheet. The dart-like jet is also used by NASA and the Turkish Air Force and was flown in the past by the air forces of Germany, Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan.

However, there have been at least a half a dozen crashes involving ageing U.S. T-38s since November 2017, according to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.  The worn out T-38s are restricted from making the tight turns of today’s fighters, lest they disintegrate in midair, Smithsonian’s Air & Space magazine reported in 2018. Pilots training on the F-22 and F-35 must undergo additional training in F-16s to verify that they can handle the G-forces, Air & Space noted.

On September 27, 2018, the Air Force awarded The Boeing Company a contract, worth up to $9.2 billion, to procure 351 Advanced Pilot Training (APT T-X) aircraft and 46 Ground-Based Training Systems to replace the existing fleet of T-38C jet trainers, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The new trainer was officially named the T-7A Red Hawk, to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American fighter pilots of World War II — who were known as the Red Tails because they decorated their P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs with a red-tailed paint scheme.

Oh, and by the way — Happy New Year everyone!

January 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment


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