The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to produce wings for the T-38 Talon.
The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract – worth US$240m – was awarded on January 30. IAI’s offer was chosen over four competing bids as part of a competitive process. Work will be performed in Lod, Israel, and is expected to be complete by January 2033.
IAI is no stranger to providing new wings for the US Air Force’s T-38 fleet. In 2015, the company delivered its first replacement wing for the service after it had opted to extend T-38C training operations following delays to the T-X competition. IAI is producing 200 wing sets for T-38s under this existing contract that is running until 2021.
The Northrop T-38 Talon made its first flight in April 1959 and was introduced into USAF service in March 1961. It was the world’s first supersonic jet trainer, as well as the most produced example in that role with more than 1,140 produced.
T-38s are still in operational service in Turkey and the US, with the type preparing to celebrate 60 years of operational USAF service in 2021. The Talon has also been operated by Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan (Republic of China). Germany operates the T-38C, but these aircraft are based at Sheppard AFB in Texas and wear USAF markings. They operate as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) programme.