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AEROSPACE
KAI taps Texstars to develop KF-X fighter transparencies
by Ryan Maass
Grand Prairie, Texas (UPI) Jan 25, 2017


Raytheon-Leonardo team withdraws from T-X competition
Mckinney, Tenn. (UPI) Jan 25, 2017 - Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica will not jointly pursue a contract for the U.S. Air Force's T-X trainer aircraft program.

The T-X program is an Air Force effort to procure a new two-seat military jet trainer to replace its Northrop T-38 Talon, which has been in service with the branch for over four decades.

Prior to ending their joint involvement, Raytheon and Leonardo's partnership intended to submit a T-100 platform for the project.

"In February 2016, Raytheon and Leonardo announced their intent to team on the T-X pursuit. While we remain confident that the T-100 is a strong solution, our companies were unable to reach a business agreement that is in the best interest of the U.S. Air Force," Raytheon spokesperson B.J. Boling said in a press release. "Consequently, Raytheon and Leonardo will not jointly pursue the T-X competition."

Other competing partnerships included Boeing and Saab, Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries, and Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

U.S. defense officials initially planned to replace the T-38 in 2017, but budget cutbacks have pushed initial operating capability for the aircraft to around 2023. The Air Force plans to begin the program in 2017.

U.S. aerospace contractor Texstars has been selected by Korea Aerospace Industries to develop canopy and windshield transparencies for the KF-X fighter.

Under the contract with the South Korea-based aerospace developer, Texstars will work alongside the company to provide bird-strike resistant transparencies for the developing aircraft.

In a statement announcing the contract award, Texstars said the operation will aim to enable the single-seat multirole fighter to fly under extreme conditions while providing maximum survivability and pilot safety.

Texstars has developed transparency configurations for a variety of military aircraft in the past, including those used by the F-16, A-10, F-15, and other fixed-wing planes.

KAI's KF-X multi-role fighter is a project jointly funded by the governments of South Korea and Indonesia. Industry partners have been tasked with developing a single-seat, twin-engine jet with stealth capabilities that surpass the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale.

The company is planning to formally introduce the aircraft in 2025. South Korea intends to procure the aircraft from 2023 to 2030.


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