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Northrop Grumman T-X (Model 400)

5th Generation Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft Proposal [ 2017 ]

The Northrop Grumman T-X was, at one point, challenging for the rights to become the next advanced trainer for the USAF - Northrop ended its bid in February 2017.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/16/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The USAF T-X program seeks to replace the aging line of Northrop T-38 "Talon" aircraft in the advanced jet trainer role. To date competitors include Boeing, Northrop, Lockheed, Raytheon and, to a lesser extent, Textron AirLand. The Boeing, Northrop and Lockheed designs remain frontrunners with the Lockheed proposal being based on the existing T-50 "Golden Eagle" operated by South Korea (and jointly developed between KAI and Lockheed). The Boeing and Northrop submissions are "clean sheet" designs - though Northrop initially moved to offer an advanced form of the BAe Systems Hawk (Hawk T2/128) for a time.

The service seeks 350 aircraft to fulfill the advanced trainer role. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the T-X is planned for 2023.

The Northrop prototype was revealed in August of 2016 as it conducted tests in the Mojave Desert. Like the competing Boeing T-X, the Northrop model is powered by a single General Electric F404 (non-afterburning) turbofan engine (17,200lb thrust) - already in the USAF logistical inventory. The crew of two sit in a traditional tandem seat cockpit arrangement with the engine installed aft. The engine is aspirated by a split-air intake system and exhausts through a single port under the tail. A tricycle undercarriage is fitted. The prototype T-X has been constructed by Scaled Composites.

Unlike the Boeing T-X offering, the Northrop aircraft has a single vertical tail fin and low-mounted wing mainplanes. Additionally, a noticeable "chine" is present along the fuselage sides - a longitudinal line at the hull cross-section, typically encountered with "stealthy" aircraft. The T-X trainer is categorized as a "5th Generation Jet" - intended to train new generations of pilots for the newer platforms such as the Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" and F-35 "Lightning II" systems.

While Boeing is partnered with Sweden's Saab for its T-X proposal, Northrop has teamed with BAe Systems and L-3 Communications. The Northrop T-38 Talon - formally introduced in 1961 - has been in service for over 50 years with 1,146 aircraft built. This amounts to 95,000 pilots having trained some 17 million hours on the system according to Northrop marketing material.

Northrop was recently named winner of the USAF's next-generation bomber competition - beating out long-time rival Boeing.

Values presented on this page for the Northrop Grumman T-X are estimated on the part of the author. They will be revised when official specifications of the aircraft are revealed by the manufacturer.©MilitaryFactory.com
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February 2017 - Northrop Grumman announced Feb 1st, 2017 that it will not be competing in the USAF's T-X competition. Northrop Grumman was partnered with BAe Systems in the venture. The move leaves just teams from Boeing and Lockheed in the running.

September 2018 - Boeing was announced the winner of the T-X advanced trainer competition with its T-X submission.


Northrop Grumman / BAe Systems - USA
United States (cancelled)
Operators National flag of the United States
Service Year
United States
National Origin
Project Status

Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).

1 x General Electric F404 non-afterburning turbofan engine developing 17,200lb of thrust.

T-X - Base Series Name

General Assessment
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).

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Image of the Northrop Grumman T-X (Model 400)
Image of the Northrop Grumman T-X during flight testing.

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