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Air Force request avionics upgrade for T-1A jets

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The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is surveying the aerospace industry to find companies with the expertise to upgrade avionics systems aboard their T-1A trainer jets to maintain current capabilities and ensure flight operations at all times, in all civil and military airspace. The Air Force made the announcement in a “Request For Information (RFI)” document Thursday.

The T-1A is a commercial derivative aircraft of the Hawker Beechcraft 400A (Jayhawk). The aircraft is used to train Air Force pilots and Combat Systems Officers (CSO). The USAF has 178 active T-1A aircraft at the following bases: Vance Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Laughlin Air Force Base, Columbus Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Pensacola. Twenty-one aircraft have been designated as CSO training aircraft and have been modified to meet mission requirements.. The T-1A is supported by 16 simulators, which are stationed at each base.

“The T-1A currently utilizes a ProLine 2/4 avionics suite which is experiencing obsolescence in no less than three known systems,” the Air Force said in the RFI. “The U.S. Air Force is conducting market research to interface the aircraft with a modern avionics suite replacement to maintain current capabilities and ensure flight operations at all times, in all civil and military airspace. The T-1A currently utilizes the ARINC 429 data bus and the Collins APS-85 autopilot. The solution must mitigate/eliminate DMSMS issues throughout the projected service life of calendar year 2035.”

All interested parties should send company literature along with responses to Air Force contract officers at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. by Feb. 14.

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