By Matthew Clark
Published Feb. 11, 2016
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin announced the Greenville Operations facility located at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center will handle the final assembly for the T-50A aircraft the company is offering in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition.
“A number of sites were considered for the FACO location. Following a detailed examination, the Greenville Operations facility was selected based upon the unique requirements of the APT competition and the support and partnership of the state of South Carolina,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, in a statement.
Lockheed Martin has selected its Greenville facility to perform final assemble and checkout of the T-50A test aircraft. (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
Leslie Farmer, communications lead for Lockheed Martin Greenville Operations, said the company does not plan to add employees because the T-50A is only in the competition phase of development. The facility has approximately 500 employees. She also said that because it is only the competition phase, Lockheed Martin would not release any cost information related to the project.
“Once the Air Force makes a decision, if it is Lockheed Martin that is selected, we may have to add additional employees here in Greenville,” Martin said.
The U.S. Air Force is looking to replace its aging T-38 training aircraft which was manufactured by Northrup Grumman. According to Northrup Grumman, 1,200 T-38 Talons were produced from 1961-72 with the last delivered to the Air Force in 1972.
According to Aviation Week magazine, there are four main candidates bidding for the Air Force contract. Along with Lockheed/Korea Aerospace Industries, there is the joint teams of Boeing and Saab, Northrup Grumman and BAE Systems as well as a Textron AirLand Scorpion. The magazine reported Alenia Aermacchi had teamed with General Dynamics, but the latter pulled out.
The Air Force said it plans to award a contract for 350 of the trainers sometime in the fall of 2017 with operational capability of the chosen aircraft planned for the end of 2023.
The T-50A will undergo final assembly at the Greenville facility which is located on 227 acres and includes 13 hangars and 1.2 million square feet of covered space. The facility also includes 8,000 feet of runway.
"The T-50A is production ready now. It is the only offering that meets all of the APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule," said Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs, in a statement.
The Greenville facility was recently selected to assist with logistics and engineering services for Lockheed Martin’s KC/C-130 aircraft. The KC/C-130 is an extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The Greenville facility provides full-service maintenance, repair and overhaul, as well as original equipment manufacturer sustainment services and engineering support, parts management, logistics services and warehouse services for commercial and government-furnished parts and equipment, and inspection of spare parts. It also provides “nose-to-tail” modifications for aircraft, according to Lockheed Martin.
Reach Matthew Clark at 864-235-5677, ext. 107 or @matthewclark76 on Twitter.