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​The Boeing/Saab team conducted the first flight of their T-X entrant from Boeing's St. Louis facility on Dec. 20, 2016. Boeing photo.

​Boeing and its partner Saab on Tuesday conducted the first flight for their T-X entrant. The twin-tailed, high-wing aircraft took off from Boeing’s St. Louis facility, and flew for 55 minutes during which time T-X test pilot Steven Schmidt and chief pilot for Air Force programs Dan Draeger “validated key aspects of the single-engine jet and demonstrated the performance of the low-risk design," according to a company release. Boeing first unveiled the aircraft in September, and has recently conducted ground testing including high-speed taxiing last week. The Air Force is looking to award a contract for its next-generation trainer next year, with initial operating capability expected in 2024. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, are in the running, with the Air Force expecting to buy 350 of the trainers to replace the aging T-38.