Because the Air Force will not receive its full complement of 350 T-X trainers until 2034, another tranche of T-38 aircraft will be modified and re-winged under a program dubbed Pacer Classic III, Air Education and Training Command plans and requirements chief Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft told reporters at ASC16. “The fact that we’re now on the third iteration of these modifications of a 50-year-old airplane tells you” the T-X program is long overdue, Croft said. The T-38s will “be around a while longer” as T-X delivers, said Gen. Darryl Roberson, head of AETC, who observed that “we have to maintain the viability” of the T-38 until its replacement comes along. Croft said some 24 T-38s will probably have to get the service life extension program to meet AETC’s pilot production quotas. However, “if we can buy more T-Xs more quickly,” the mod may not be needed. The new T-X will allow AETC to teach more essential skills during undergraduate pilot training, allowing those students flying the T-X to have a shorter syllabus, but the T-38’s deficiencies require those who train on it to get further training after UPT, Roberson said.
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