Editor’s Note: It appears as though the refining of the actual RFP for the Air Force’s T-X jet trainer replacement program will take longer than anticipated, pushing the official solicitation release until sometime right before the end of the calendar year 2016. As a result of the delay, the T-X is not anticipated to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) until sometime in the mid-2030s.
The Air Force has delayed a key milestone for its T-X advanced trainer by three months in order to refine the industry solicitation.
As a result, the new aircraft will reach full operational capability two years later than expected.
Refining the planned industry solicitation has taken longer than anticipated, Air Force spokesman Capt. Jose Davis said March 21. The Air Force decided to delay the release of the T-X request for proposals until late December after reviewing the remaining tasks for RFP approval.
“The program office now anticipates an RFP release in late December 2016 to ensure the release of a well-defined RFP,” according to a March 18 notice posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website.
FOC has been pushed two years, from fiscal 2032 to 2034, in order to “align the production schedule with the Air Force strategic planning,” according to the notice. Initial operational capability remains 2024.
T-X is unique in that it is a pilot program for the Air Force’s “Bending the Cost Curve” initiative, an effort that is aimed at increasing competition and finding cost-effective solutions. Throughout the acquisition process, T-X program officials have worked closely with industry to refine requirements for the new program and will continue that dialogue.
“These activities have improved and continue to improve the RFP by reducing any potential misinterpretations, which will result in offers better-positioned to meet training requirements,” Davis said. “Ensuring the clarity of evaluation criteria and all other sections of the RFP is critical at this stage. Communication is vital in providing insight to industry, enabling efficient and informed decisions as prospective offerors continue to refine their business plans.”
Air Force officials told Defense News last month that they expect no major changes to the program requirements.
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(Featured photo courtesy of scoopnest.com)