Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila E. Widnall announced selection of Beech
Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas, to develop and deliver the Joint
Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS), the Air Force and Navy replacement
for the Air Force's T-37B and the Navy's T-34C aircraft, which are 36 and 21
years old, respectively. The current program calls for buying up to 711 total
production aircraft, 372 for the Air Force and 339 for the Navy. The JPATS
manufacturing development, production, and initial support program has been
budgeted at $7 billion. However, it is anticipated that the final program cost
will be less than this amount. The final price for the initial acquisition and
contractor logistics contracts with Beech cannot be publicly released until
after contract award.
JPATS is being acquired as the primary trainer aircraft for the next
generation of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy entry-level student aviators. The
need for JPATS was identified in a 1989 Department of Defense (DOD) Trainer
Aircraft Master Plan. In addition to its primary mission of training entry
level student pilots, JPATS will also support Undergraduate Naval Flight
Officer Training (UNFO) and USAF Navigator Training.
The JPATS aircraft will provide major improvements in several important areas,
including: missionized ejection seats, improved birdstrike protection,
instrumentation and digital cockpit display, pressurized cockpit, and
flexibility to accommodate a broad range of candidate pilots, both male and
Following approval by the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) which is scheduled
in August, the program will enter the Manufacturing Development (MD) Phase, and
Air Force as the lead service will award two contracts to Beech Aircraft
Corporation: one for aircraft missionization and production options, and one
for contractor logistics support.
The JPATS selection culminates an extensive source selection process that
began in a formal sense on May 18, 1994, when the Request for Proposal was
released. The source selection team consisted of Air Force and Navy personnel
representing the joint program office, the operational training commands, the
responsible test organizations, and both service headquarters. The source
selection process included assessments of each offeror's proposals and flight
evaluation of all seven candidate aircraft.
The seven companies which submitted proposals, listed in the order in which
they completed their flight evaluations were: Grumman, headquartered in
Bethpage, N.Y., which offered the S211A JPATS; Vought, headquartered in Dallas,
Tex., which offered the Pampa 2000; Rockwell, headquartered in Seal Beach,
Calif., which offered the Ranger 2000; Cessna, headquartered in Wichita,
Kansas, which offered the Cessna 526; Northrop, headquartered in Los Angeles,
Calif., which offered the Tucano II; Lockheed, headquartered in Marietta,
Georgia, which offered the T-Bird II; and Beech, headquartered in Wichita,
Kansas, which offered the Mk II.
Although the cost of the JPATS initial aircraft development, production, and
logistics support contracts will be determined by Beech's proposal, DAB
decisions will also consider estimates of total program cost to include
production of up to 711 aircraft, development and production of the Ground
Based Training System (GBTS), and operations and support for 24 years of
Once the contracts are awarded, Beech Aircraft Corporation, will begin a
competitive selection process for the JPATS Ground-Based Training System
(GBTS), which will contain JPATS flight and ground simulators, training
courseware, and a management information system for tracking student training
Production is planned to begin in November 1995 and extend through 2017.
First flight of the first JPATS aircraft off the production line is planned for
The JPATS program is being managed by the Flight Training System Program
Office (SPO) at the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC), Wright-Patterson AFB,
Dayton, Ohio. The Flight Training Program Director is Col. John L. Hudson and
the JPATS Program Manager is Lt. Col. Frank Szalejko.
Additional information on the JPATS program can be obtained from the Office of
Public Affairs at ASC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, (513) 255-2725.