It is essential to allow the USAF to train new pilots until the future advanced jet trainer (T-X) will come into service.

USAF upgrades T-38 Talon
USAF upgrades T-38 Talon to exted service life.

Designed in the 1950s, the T-38 Talon is a tandem, two-seat aircraft that became the world’s first and most produced supersonic trainer with over 1,100 being built and, thus far, trained an estimated 72,000 pilots from the U.S. Air Force, foreign nations and NASA, that have affectionately nicknamed it “white rocket” due to its thrust-to-weight ratio.

Since entering flying service, each active aircraft has received structural, avionic and propulsion upgrades that have kept them up-to-date and have allowed many airframes to accumulate as many as 20,000 hours of high-G supersonic flight.

With its replacement still to be chosen and the only advanced supersonic trainer available, it has once again become necessary to extend each airframes service life and to that answer is the 575th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the only geographically-separated aircraft maintenance, stand-alone squadron within Air Force Materiel Command.

Located at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, the 575th AMXS T-38 Talon depot maintenance team has been providing current upgrade modifications known as Pacer Classic III since 2015 and have to date successfully completed them on 40 aircraft.

The PCIII modification package is more extensive than any previous T-38 depot overhaul, inspection and repair and are scheduled to take approximately 9,700 hours with a goal of completing each aircraft in 240 days, which is down from 600 days that each of the first two aircraft required for completion.

Source, Image: USAF

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