Boeing, Lockheed, Leonardo Compete for Australia’s Advanced Jet Trainer

Boeing is competing with two other defense giants for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) next-generation fighter trainer aircraft.

The company, along with Leonardo and a consortium of Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries, pitched its solution during the Avalon Airshow in Melbourne.

Canberra has been looking for a new lead-in system to replace its existing fighter training solution under Project AIR 6002.

It plans to spend up to 5 billion Australian dollars ($3.4 billion) for the program, which will run through 2033.

Boeing is proposing its T-7 advanced trainer to help ensure the mission readiness of Australia’s future fighter pilots.

The system will be used to prepare F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, and F-35 fighter pilots.

According to Boeing, the T-7 consists of a next-generation trainer aircraft and a ground-based simulator to offer a “cost-effective” system to the RAAF.

It also features a reconfigurable cockpit and digital open architecture to allow for rapid updates.

“The T-7 would fit right into the pilot training and aircraft sustainment our team currently provides for the Australian Defence Force,” company vice president Scott Carpendale said.

“Because the US and Australia already have a high degree of interoperability due to flying similar aircraft types, an Australian T-7 could lead to new joint training scenarios between the two countries.”

Lockheed Martin and its South Korean partner are offering their T-50 Golden Eagle trainer to allow future Australian pilots to train on fifth-generation platforms, such as the F-35.

The company says its proposed system has been proven to reduce the learning curve for new pilots in Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Lockheed Martin is proposing its T-50 Golden Eagle to Australia. Photo: Lockheed Martin


Meanwhile, Leonardo wants its M-346 advanced jet trainer to be the choice for Project AIR 6002.

The solution was developed using cutting-edge technologies, including a network of simulators and ground-based instructional devices.

It features a fully operational live, virtual, and constructive environment that helps expose student pilots to the most complex and challenging operational scenarios.

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