A Good Place to Be, Sort Of

Air Education and Training Command boss Gen. Edward Rice said “everyone understands the need” for a new trainer, but it’s still not clear when the Air Force will be able to scrounge up the money to buy one. “I’m not concerned about the safety of the T-38 and I’m not concerned that somebody is going to come forward to leadership and say, ‘We have a huge problem with the T-38,’” Rice told reporters at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Monday. “It’s a good place to be, but the fiscal situation makes it difficult to make an argument to do something that we don’t absolutely have to do,” he said. Until the funding is in place, Rice said he does not expect the Air Force to conduct another analysis of alternatives. “We did the AOA previously, thinking we were going to start to procure the aircraft. Since we haven’t, now I have to redo the AOA,” said Rice. “It costs me money to do that, so I don’t want to start down that road until I know there is money,” he said. In the mean time, he said the Air Force regularly inspects the structure of the current fleet and is making repairs to 125 legacy T-38s “to ensure we have a safe airplane to fly into the future.”