ABU DHABI and WASHINGTON — BAE plans to use its company-owned Hawk demonstrator to test some of the technologies jointly being developed with prime contractor Northrop Grumman for their newly designed aircraft being pitched for the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 replacement program.

BAE’s company-owned Hawk, ZJ951, will begin flying with some of these technologies in September, a senior BAE Systems executive told Aviation Week at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi. Under a work share agreement with Northrop Grumman, BAE plans to produce some parts for the new, clean-sheet design being proposed for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X program, valued at potentially $1 billion. "Under the work share we have with Northrop Grumman we would still expect to be assembling parts for the new design at our facilities at Brough and Warton" in the United Kingdom, the executive says. BAE also plans to transplant the Hawk training system – the software and simulator technology – into the T-X design for the U.S. Air Force.

Northrop Grumman spokesman Bryce McDevitt says the formal agreement on work allocation is still under discussion.

The team last year notified the Air Force that it was developing its own prototype for the T-X requirement, abandoning an earlier plan to modify BAE’s Hawk for the bid. The companies found the Hawk had shortcomings that would be cost prohibitive to correct for the Air Force requirement. Among them was an underpowered engine, and officials said they would also need to add slatted wings to the aircraft. At issue was an inability for the Hawk to meet the sustained G, instantaneous G, angle-of-attack maneuvering and turn rate/turn radius requirements for T-X.

"The Royal Air Force trains its pilots between 5,000 and 15,000 feet, while the USAF trains between 10-20,000 feet," the BAE executive adds, adding to the differences between requirements.

The Hawk demonstrator will be used for risk reduction and is separate from the new demonstrator being developed by the team for flight by year-end. Northrop Grumman first acknowledged its clean-sheet design, spearheaded by Scaled Composites (a rapid design and prototyping subsidiary owned by Northrop), earlier this month in advance of the annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando.

Northrop Grumman was originally a subcontractor to BAE in 2011; the two then shifted positions, with BAE taking a sub role, in June. L-3 Communications will remain on the team and provide the ground-based training system. BAE’s simulator technology and software will be used in the T-X air vehicle.

The team will likely compete with Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries offering the T-50; General Dynamics/Alenia Aermacchi offering the M346 and a yet-to-be-unveiled new design from Boeing and Saab.