Lockheed Martin could build new training jets for the U.S. Air Force more quickly than its competitors — enough to save $1 billion over six years, a top company executive said.
And the service ought to take that into account as it evaluates bids for the $15 billion T-X project, he said.
“What we’re concerned about, frankly, is that the Air Force in their competition right now is not recognizing the value of early delivery or even on-time delivery,” said Rob Weiss, Lockheed executive vice president and general manager of Advanced Development Programs.
Lockheed is running its pursuit of the contract through Weiss’s group, the secretive division better known as the Skunk Works, birthplace of the U-2 spyplane, SR-71 Blackbird, and F-117 stealth fighter.
Here’s how the firm calculates the $1 billion in savings: The Air Force says it wants the first 16 planes ready to train pilots by 2024, but Lockheed says it could deliver the planes three years early. That would allow the Air Force to start getting rid of its T-38 Talon trainers sooner.
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