Air Force awards $9 billion contract to Boeing for new training jets

OVER LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A T-38 Talon participates in the 2004 Lackland Airfest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

(CNN)The US Air Force has awarded a $9.2 billion contract to Boeing to produce hundreds of trainer aircraft to replace its current 57-year-old fleet of training jets.

"The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment," the Air Force said in a statement announcing the award.
The trainer aircraft are part of the Air Force's T-X program, which has long sought to acquire a jet to replace the current training aircraft. The aging T-38 Talon first entered service in the 1960s.
"This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in the statement.
    The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023.
      Boeing announced that it has won the contract via a tweet.
      The award comes just days after Boeing won another Air Force contract, this one valued at over $2 billion, to replace the helicopters used to secure the military's nuclear missile sites.