Greenville will be the new manufacturing home of T-50A planes used for training pilots, if a manufacturer is successful at winning an Air Force contract.
Aeronautical corporation Lockheed Martin held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the opening of Advanced Pilot Training facility in Greenville that will house the company’s Ground Based Training System.
Lockheed Martin plans to build two T-50A training planes by the end of the year at the facility in a bid to win a manufacturing contract to build 350 planes for the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force contract is said to be worth nearly $12 billion.
The T-50A is a jet advanced training aircraft that is the next generation of the Air Force’s current T-50 trainer. Lockheed Martin intends to use the new facility at the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center site to build on the stability of that aircraft. Lockheed Martin completed the initial flight test of the T-50A plan in June.
Several notable South Carolina government officials were in attendance at the opening ceremony. “Greenville South Carolina is a place that repairs and refurbishes old airplanes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham at the new training facility. “The purpose of us being here today is to make sure that Greenville South Carolina builds new airplanes.”
The technological transformation of South Carolina was the topic of several speeches during the event. “We are very pleased we made the decision to be here in Greenville and today’s event I think showcased why,” Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics Executive Vice President Orlando Carvalho said after the event. “You see how this facility has transformed over the last six months and we have great plans ahead over the next six months to produce this airplane.”
The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. More than 1,800 pilots trained in the older T-50 plane model.