Leonardo DRS at Paris Air Show

PARIS: LEONARDO TOUTS OPERATIONAL PEDIGREE OF T-100 FOR T-X

By Craig Hoyle, FlightGlobal.com

June 19, 2017 -- LONDON -Leonardo DRS will submit all required flight data for its T-100 trainer offering on or before the US Air Force's 28 June deadline, with chief executive Bill Lynn describing its M-346-based solution as "low-risk, low-cost and operationally proven".

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"We will have everything submitted on time, and it will be complete," Lynn said at the Paris air show on 19 June. "We think we can make a very competitive bid."

The T-100 is among several candidates for the USAF's T-X competition, which seeks 346 new jet trainers to begin replacing its veteran Northrop T-38s. Also in contention are the Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries T-50A and a clean-sheet offering from a Boeing/Saab team, named T-X.

Lynn pointed to "an established team" supporting the T-100 proposal, also including F124 engine supplier Honeywell and simulator company CAE. Noting that the M-346 is in service with Israel, Italy, Poland and Singapore, he says it is already being used by the Israeli air force to train pilots for Lockheed Martin's fifth-generation F-35.

"We have worked with the [current] customers to improve the product," says Filippo Bagnato, managing director of Leonardo Aircraft. The company also is showing a new fighter attack development of the M-346 which it is developing for light-attack and aggressor training applications.

Earlier this year Leonardo confirmed that final assembly of the T-100 would be conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama, if the model is selected for the T-X requirement, and Bagnato says major components will also be manufactured at the site. Flight testing and aircraft acceptance will also be performed at the facility.

"If we are selected, we will have an American product," Bagnato says. He adds that the volume of US content on the design could be "higher than on the [Boeing] 787-10."