BAE plans to announce on Monday that it will team with Northrop Grumman to propose its Hawk-based training system for the U.S. Air Force's T-38C replacement competition.
If the U.K.-based company's plans from the Paris air show hold, they anticipate a place as prime with Northrop signing on as a primary subcontractor.
The Air Force plans to buy up to 350 aircraft as well as a ground-based simulation system. A procurement strategy hasn't been announced, but Air Force senior acquisition executive David Van Buren and his military deputy, Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, say T-X is a program they will likely use to employ their new procurement philosophy of "incrementalism." (Read more about their approach in Monday's Aviation Week cover story.)
This approach is likely to drive competitors to propose as much existing hard- and software as possible to avoid risk in the program and keep costs down.
The team declines to talk about their plans pending a press conference Monday morning at the open of the annual Air Force Association conference in Washington.
BAE and Northrop will likely be pitted against Lockheed Martin/KAI and Alenia. Alenia has also been searching for a U.S. partner, although it is open to allowing the U.S. company to take on the prime role. Boeing has flirted with the idea of designing an aircraft from the ground up, but has announced no firm plans.