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Leonardo Rejoins Air Force T-X Bidding Without Raytheon

Italian aerospace company Leonardo is back in the running to bid on the U.S. Air Force's T-X trainer jet competition after it separated from a joint venture with Raytheon Co., the company announced Wednesday.

"Leonardo is proud to confirm its participation in the U.S. Air Force T-X competition with its T-100 integrated training system," it said in a release. "Leonardo will leverage its U.S. company, Leonardo DRS, as the prime contractor, bringing to bear Leonardo's leading aeronautical and simulation expertise to deliver a fully integrated solution in the best interests of the Air Force."

The company further stated the "T-100 will be a U.S.-based program that will bring significant economic benefits to the country through a newly established and skilled U.S. workforce, in addition to the technological and industrial capabilities embedded in newly built U.S.-based manufacturing facilities."

The T-100 is based on Leonardo's M-346 twin-engine trainer aircraft.

RELATED: Top Air Force General OK with Fewer T-X Competitors

"Leonardo's commitment to pursue the T-X builds on our deep experience in military pilots' training and on the competitiveness of our T-100 integrated Training Systems that can meet the U.S. Air Force's current and future needs," said Mauro Moretti, chief executive officer and general manager of Leonardo.

Leonardo SpA, formerly Leonardo-Finmeccanica, together with Raytheon were offering a modified design of the T-100 jet trainer. But the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company known more for its missiles and the Italian defense company butted heads over Leonardo's inability to drop costs by nearly a third and dissolved their partnership last month, Defense News reported.

Honeywell will provide the aircraft's twin F124 turbofan propulsion engines, the release said.

Leonardo-DRS spokesman Mike Mount told on Wednesday that the aircraft will be built in the U.S., but the company is still evaluating locations for a U.S. manufacturing site.  

The engines for the aircraft "will be built at the Honeywell plant in Phoenix," Mount said.  


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