The Air Force contracted Northrop Grumman with $22 million for engineering services on the T-38 Talon and F-5 Tiger II trainer aircraft.
The T-38 is a two-seat twinjet supersonic jet trainer. It was the world’s first supersonic trainer when it first entered service in the 60s. Until 1972, nearly 1,200 aircraft were produced. 500 are still operational.
Northrop produced a replacement wing for the Talon, which will help extend the trainer’s service life until at least 2020. Student pilots train supersonic techniques, aerobatics, formation, night and instrument flying and cross-country navigation with the help of the T-38A.
The F-5 is a twin-engine tactical fighter, that had its maiden flight in 1963. Northrop Grumman built more than 2,600 Tiger II fighters. The US Navy operates the F-5 in its adversary squadrons to simulate enemy aircraft in aerial combat training exercises. The US Air Force used the F-5 in a similar training role. The F-5 now serves as the primary trainer for F-16s, F/A-18s, F-15s or Mirage aircraft. Work under the current contract will take place in Clearfield, Utah, and is scheduled to be finished by March 31, 2024.