Leonardo on Thursday announced plans to build a new aircraft manufacturing facility in Alabama to produce its T-100 integrated jet training system if it comes out winning the T-X competition. The company selected Moton Field Municipal Airport in Tuskegee for the new aircraft manufacturing site and final assembly line ‘because of the available local workforce and resources, plus the exisiting airfield infrastructure.
Leonardo earlier this year selected its US-based affiliate Leonardo DRS at the prime contractor for the T-X bid. Production of Leonardo’s T-100 jet trainer will have to take place in the US in order to have a chance at winning the valuable T-X contract. Under this contract, the Pentagon is to buy over 300 new jet trainers for the US Air Force, which will replace many dozens of old T-38 Talon trainers.
The T-100 is based on the M-346 Master, a jet Airheadsfly.com got to know from the inside last year. The M-346’s twin Honeywell F124 turbofan engines will also power the T-100 and will be built in Phoenix, Arizona.
The T-100 features an embedded training system, fifth-generation cockpit, open system architecture and in-flight refuelling capability and is designed to receive mission-focused next-generation enhancements to meet the requirements set by the U.S. Air Force.
Competitors have until 31 March to actual hand in their proposals. Boeing reported it has already delivered its proposal, while Leonardo now appears to have done the same. No doubt Lockheed Martin will follow with their offer.