First T-38 Upgraded Under Pacer Classic III

The first structurally enhanced T-38C Talon modified under the “Pacer Classic III” program rolled off Air Force Sustainment Center’s line at JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, July 31, officials announced this week. The Air Force plans to upgrade a total of 150 Talons to extend their serviceable lives to 2029, when the service plans to phase out the T-38 in favor of its next generation trainer aircraft. The Air For?ce completed two previous structural modification programs, most recently in 1984, and an avionics modernization program starting in 2002 (resulting in the T-38C designation.) Pacer Classic III is the most extensive structural rework to date, involving the replacement of longerons, bulkhead, and formers, as well internal skins and structural floors, according to the Air Force Magazine 2015 USAF Almanac. “Our task, a tall one, is to take a 50-plus-year-old aircraft, take it down to just a skeleton and rebuild it. Better, stronger, and safer,” said 575th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director Rob Lewin. The facility at Randolph is currently upgrading 11 airframes, and plans to deliver another 17 next fiscal year, according to the release.