Mulling Possibilities for New Trainer

Gen. Stephen Lorenz, commander of Air Education and Training Command, told reporters Sept. 15 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that USAF has just started work to gain Joint Requirements Oversight Council validation of a requirement for a successor to USAF’s T-38 trainer. “The T-38 is aging out,” he said, and “we’re still in discovery” in determining such basic considerations as numbers needed and whether it will also be a Navy program. Earlier this year, the Air Force requested information from industry to help refine its search for the replacement for the 50-year-old trainer. Lorenz said, “There will be some people who try to push it to the 5th generation, but we can’t do this.” In his view, USAF must undertake a “stairstepping” approach toward a new aircraft for advanced bomber-fighter training. The service currently is in the last stages of procuring the T-6 as its primary pilot trainer, replacing the now-retired T-37 Tweet. The T-6A Texan II is a joint program with the Navy.