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Second Lockheed Martin T-50A completes first flight

By Ryan Maass
Lockheed Martin says its T-50A is the most affordable and reliable option for the U.S. Air Force's T-X Trainer competition. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin says its T-50A is the most affordable and reliable option for the U.S. Air Force's T-X Trainer competition. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin's second T-50A performed its inaugural flight from the company's operations center in Greenville, S.C.

The event supports the company's bid for the U.S. Air Force's T-X competition, an effort to procure a next-generation trainer jet. The Air Force is looking for a fast, two-seat plane to replace the aging Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon aircraft.

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Lockheed Martin says the T-50A represents the most affordable and reliable option to fulfill this role. The company announced plans to enter the aircraft into the competition in February 2016.

The T-50A is designed to bridge the gap between 4th- and 5th-generation fighter jet technology. If the Air Force moves forward with Lockheed Martin's offer, pilots will be trained to fly the F-22 Raptor and the 5th-generation F-35 Lightning II.

The jet is based on the T-50, which has accumulated over 200,000 flight hours and trained over 1,800 pilots.

Lockheed Martin is also offering its T-50A Ground-Based Training System, a simulator designed to provide immersive instruction for pilots prior to taking flight.

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