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The Air Force on Friday released its final request for proposal for its newest aircraft trainer valued at $16.3 billion.

The request for proposal is for a two-seat T-X trainer jet that will replace the service’s aging fleet of Northrop Grumman T-38s and teach pilots how to fly 4th and 5th generation aircraft.

“Our ability to get the most out of our fifth-generation aircraft depends on success in the Advanced Pilot Training program,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein. “In terms of both providing realistic, holistic training and reducing flying hours on our fifth-generation platforms, T-X is a program we’ve got to get right.”

The contract is expected to be awarded in 2017 with initial operating capability set for the end of fiscal 2024, according to an Air Force release. While the request released Friday will cover development and delivery of the first five aircraft, there are contract options to buy a total of 350 trainers.

There are at least four industry teams hoping to bid for the contract. The offering from Boeing and Saab made it’s first test flight in December. Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are also working on a candidate to compete.

Two other teams are offering modified versions of trainers that are already on the market. Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries are working on a modified version of the T-50 and Raytheon, which partnered with Honeywell Aerospace, CAE USA Inc. and Leonardo, is working on its T-100, which is a modified M-346 from Leonardo.

Sierra Nevada Corp. and Turkish Aerospace Industries are also reportedly teaming up to submit a trainer for the competition.

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