FY 2006 Contracts for US Carrier Pilots’ T-45 Training System
The T-45 Training System includes T-45 Goshawk aircraft, advanced flight simulators, computer-assisted instructional programs, a computerized training integration system, and a contractor logistics support package. The integration of all five elements is designed to produce a superior pilot in less time and at lower cost than previous training systems.
The US Navy used the T-45TS to train its pilots for the transition to modern jet fighters – and carrier landings. This is not a risk-free assignment, by any means; nevertheless, it’s a critical link in the naval aviation chain. DID recaps its coverage of the complete T45TS system, notes the budgetary figures, and covers the FY 2006 contracts. See this link for coverage beyond 2006, which also includes the contracts and material noted below.
History & Background
In 1981, the T45TS beat out the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet in a bid to replace two US Navy training aircraft (the TA-4J Skyhawk and T-2C Buckeye). The system trains U.S. Navy and Marine Corps pilots for conversion into the F/A-18A-D Hornet, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the AV-8B Harrier II Plus, and the EA-6B Prowler. It will also serve as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft to future platforms like the Super Hornet derivative EA-18G Growler and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants.
The T-45 Training System, or T45TS, is more integrated than past systems. The system includes the T-45 Goshawk aircraft, advanced flight simulators, computer-assisted instructional programs, a computerized training integration system, and a contractor logistics support package. The combined value of all five integrated elements produces a superior pilot in less time and at lower cost than previous training systems.
Goshawks come in two variants: the T-45A and T-45C. What distinguishes them is the “Cockpit 21” digital avionics in the C variant. The cockpits are equipped with two monochrome 5in multifunction displays supplied by Israel’s Elbit, which provide navigation, weapon delivery, aircraft performance and communications data. In addition, the aircraft have been equipped with a new open systems design MDP that manages the avionics and the displays in the aircraft. Approximately 80% of the MDP’s software and circuit card assemblies were reused from the F/A-18E/F Advanced Mission Computer, making project development faster and less expensive and improving commonality with the advanced aircraft the Goshawks train their pilots to fly.
T-45s are currently based at NAS Kingsville, TX and NAS Meridian, MS. The aircraft are permanently based ashore and flown out to the training carrier for deck landings.
Since the transition to the T-45, performance has indeed improved. The training task has been accomplished with 25% fewer flying hours, using 42% fewer aircraft and 46% fewer personnel. Overall, the T45TS has enabled the U.S. Navy to reduce student flight time by 13% and the average training time by 17 weeks for each student pilot. Even so, with the current T-45 training demand the U.S. Navy has been averaging more than 60 hours per month per airframe – one of the highest utilization rates in the world.
The prime contractor is Boeing Aircraft Company, St. Louis, MO; British Aerospace (BAE Systems) of Kingston, England provides the center and aft fuselage; and Rolls Royce, Ltd. of Bristol, England provides the F405-RR-401 Adour engines along with its trademark Power By The Hour(R) support based on availability. Smiths Industries supplies the head-up display (HUD) fitted with a video camera system for post-mission analysis, primary and secondary air data indicators and weapon aiming computer and display. L-3 Vertex, meanwhile, provides contractor logistics support.
A number of air forces around the world also use the BAE Systems Hawk trainer in a reserve or even front-line role as a light attack aircraft. The US Navy could do so, but has no such plans.
Pentagon budget documents note that 6 aircraft is the total FY 2006 procurement, with a total T45TS budget including all equipment and related services of $236.3 million. This is a drop from the FY 2005 budget’s 10 aircraft and $301 million, but the FY 2007 request is scheduled to rise again to 12 aircraft and $376.4 million.
Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are issued by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD; Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas is the recipient.
Feb 5/07: Production line shutdown. A $7.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0001). This order provides for T-45 production line transition efforts for orderly shut down. Specific efforts will include technical assessment of parts and tooling to identify areas to reduce post-production parts manufacturing costs.
Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (59%) and Manchester, England (41%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007.
Sept 28/06: L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC in Madison, MS received a $94 million estimated value modification to exercise an option for contractor logistics support for the T-45 Training System. This is a modification to a previously awarded fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, time and materials requirements contract (N00019-03-D-0010); work will be performed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, TX (51%) and NAS Meridian, MS (49%), and is expected to be complete in September 2007.
Sept 27/06: Rolls-Royce Defense Services, Inc. in Indianapolis, IN received a $65.3 million fixed-price modification to a previously awarded requirements contract (N00019-03-D-0012), exercising an option for power-by-the-hour logistics support for approximately 188 F405-RR-401 Adour engines. Under this arrangement, a single contract line item number is used to pay a fixed price per aircraft flight hours; contract performance is measured almost exclusively against the fleet-driven performance metric of “ready for issue engine availability.”
Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, MS (50%); NAS Kingsville, TX (48.94%); and NAS Patuxent River, Md. (1.06%), and is expected to be complete in September 2007. See also October 9th Rolls Royce release.
April 6/06: Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in St. Louis, MO received a $5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-04-C-0013). This contract is part of the Hot Section Reliability Improvement Program for integration of the F405-RR-402 engine into the T-45 airframe, and involves nonrecurring engineering effort for Phase 1. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO and is expected to be complete in August 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
March 31/06: $14.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-05-C-0025) for non-recurring engineering services associated with, and the production of, 12 T-45 required avionics modernization program retrofit kits and two simulator avionics retrofit kits. In addition, this contract provides for technical data, integrated logistics support, and approximately 12 spare kit components. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (77%); Mesa, AZ (15%) and Albuquerque, NM (8%), and is expected to be complete in August 2009.
March 30/06: $139 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0309) for six FY 2006 T-45 Goshawk training system airframes, plus support to build/specific sustaining engineering, ground based training support, and planning and integration. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (52%) and Warton, Brough, England (48%), and is expected to be complete in September 2008.
March 30/06: $5.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-04-C-0013) provides nonrecurring engineering effort required to incorporate an embedded Terrain Awareness Warning System (eTAWS) and associated digital video recorder (DVR) replacement for the current airborne video cassette recorders (AVCR) into the T-45C aircraft, flight simulators located at the T-45’s bases in Naval Air Station Meridian and Naval Air Station Kingsville, and manned flight simulators located at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Patuxent River. In addition, this contract is for the production of up to seven pre-production DVRs in support of development, integration, simulator tests, and flight test. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (60%) and Germantown, MD (40%), and is expected to be complete in February 2008.
March 17/06: $12.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide integrated logistics support for the T-45 training system for calendar year 2006. Support to be provided includes acquisition logistics, logistics analysis, technical manuals and technical support of support equipment, production integration testing, and flight test instrumentation system equipment and repair. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (80%); Warton, Lancashire, England (13%); and Filton, Bristol, England (7%), and is expected to be complete in December 2006. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-06-C-0309).
Related contracts include:
January 27/06: Wyle Laboratories Inc., Huntsville, AL received a $5.6 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-02-C-3017) exercising an option for technical services in support of F/A-18, T-45, EA-6B, AV-8B, JSF, and X-31 aircraft located at the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron located onboard the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. Services will be provided for the Navy ($5 million; 88.3%) and the Air Force ($661,827; 11.7%). Services to be provided include test planning and operation services, functional engineering support, documentation support, flight operations coordination support and corporate operations/systems support. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, and is expected to be complete in January 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.