Raytheon Ejects from T-X

Raytheon and partner Leonardo have withdrawn from the Air Force T-X trainer competition as a team, the companies said in a joint press release on Wednesday. The announcement comes on the eve of Raytheon releasing its 2016 financial results and fourth-quarter statement. Raytheon was the lead contractor in offering the T-100 (a version of Leonardo’s M-346 Master) for the competition, which seeks a replacement for the Air Force’s venerable T-38. “While we remain confident that the T-100 is a strong solution, our companies were unable to reach a business agreement that is in the best interest of the US Air Force,” Raytheon spokesman B.J. Boling said in the statement. “Consequently, Raytheon and Leonardo will not jointly pursue the T-X competition.” Asked whether Leonardo plans to pursue the T-X on its own, or whether the statement meant the companies could not agree on workshare or cost sharing, Boling said he could not offer further comment. The two companies announced their teaming venture in February 2016, displaying a model of the T-100 and insisting the jet would meet all USAF requirements. The T-X contract is valued at about $16.3 billion and would involve producing 350 aircraft. Boeing/Saab, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada/Turkish Aerospace Industries are offering “clean sheet” designs for the T-X, while Lockheed Martin is offering a new variant—the T-50A—of the Korean Aerospace Industries T-50, which it helped design. Textron is reportedly mulling whether to propose a variant of its privately-underwritten Scorpion jet. The Air Force released the final request for proposals for T-X on Dec. 30, and is expected to make its selection late this year.