The T-38A Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record.
Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38A for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. Air Combat Command, Air Force Materiel Command and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also use the T-38A in various roles.
The T-38A has swept wings, a streamlined fuselage and tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel. Two independent hydraulic systems power the ailerons, rudder and other flight control surfaces.
The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized, air-conditioned cockpit. Critical components are waist high and can be easily reached by maintenance crews.
The T-38A needs as little as 2,300 feet (695.2 meters) of runway to take off and can climb from sea level to nearly 30,000 feet (9,068 meters) in one minute.
Advanced JSUPT students fly the T-38A in aerobatics, formation, night, instrument and cross-country navigation training.
Test pilots and flight test engineers are trained in T-38A's at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Air Force Materiel Command uses the T-38A to test experimental equipment such as electrical and weapon systems.
Pilots from most North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries train in the T-38A at Sheppard AFB, Texas, through the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration uses T-38A aircraft as trainers for astronauts and as observers and chase planes on programs such as the space shuttle.
Air Education and Training Command uses a modified version, the AT-38B, to prepare pilots for fighter aircraft such as the F-15, F-16 and A-10. The AT-38B has a gun sight and practice bomb dispenser.
The Talon first flew in 1959. More than 1,100 were delivered to the Air Force between 1961 and 1972 when production ended.
Pacer Classic is a program designed to extend the structural life of the T-38 to 2020. Future major modifications to the T-38 avionics systems will result in all Talons being redesignated as T-38C models.
Primary Function: Advanced jet pilot trainer
Builder: Northrop Corp.
Power Plant: Two General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines with afterburners
Thrust: 2,680 pounds dry thrust; 3,850 with afterburners
Length: 46 feet, 4 inches (14 meters)
Height: 12 feet, 10 inches (3.8 meters)
Wingspan: 25 feet, 3 inches (7.6 meters)
Speed: 812 mph (Mach 1.08 at sea level)
Ceiling: Above 55,000 feet (16,764 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 12,093 pounds (5,485 kilograms)
Range: 1,093 miles
Armament: T-38A: none; AT-38B: provisions for practice bomb dispenser
Unit Cost: $756,000
Crew: Two, student and instructor
Date Deployed: March 1961
Inventory: Active force, 509; ANG, 0; Reserve 0