Boeing [BA] and Sweden’s Saab AB are teaming to bid for the Air Force’s multi-billion dollar T-X trainer program, Boeing said Friday in a statement.

The two companies signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to jointly develop and build a new advanced and cost-efficient T-X family of systems training solution. Boeing will serve as the prime contractor with Saab as the primary partner. The agreement covers areas including design, development, production, support, sales and marketing.

Northrop Grumman’s T-38 trainer. Photo: Air Force.

The two companies will design a brand new offering not based on any previous aircraft. The T-X program is estimated to be valued at $30 billion and has been cited by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh as one of his top five priorities (Defense Daily, Sept. 19). The T-X program will replace the service’s T-38 trainers with a new family of systems and about 350 aircraft, according to Boeing.

Saab North America Vice President for Communications John Belanger said Monday although two companies will share work proportionally, work share is being determined and will be disclosed at the appropriate time. Belanger said Saab will bring its history of efficient manufacturing to the team.

“As Sweden is a relatively small country with limited resources, we learned early on to maximize efficiency across the board in the design process,” Belanger said. “We have developed unique solutions and technologies to meet specific needs of our customers.”

Belanger said Saab did not consider teaming with any other companies for T-X and did not consider bidding for T-X by itself. General Dynamics [GD] and Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi announced earlier this year they would team for T-X. Northrop Grumman [NOC], BAE Systems, L-3 Communications [LLL] and Rolls-Royce are also teaming for T-X. Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Korea Aerospace were said to offer Lockheed Martin’s T-50 in their bid.

Welsh earlier this summer set 2023 or 2024 as the Air Force’s target for getting a new trainer in the fleet, a goal 10 years later than the service’s original goal of late 2013 or early 2014 (Defense Daily, June 18).