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.
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.