T-38 Talon

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The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, 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.

The T-38 Talon first flew in 1959. More than 1,100 were delivered to the Air Force between 1961 and 1972 when production ended. About 562 remain in service throughout the Air Force.

The T-38 is characterized by swept-back wings, a streamlined fuselage and tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel. The T-38 needs as little as 2,300 feet of runway to take off and can climb from sea level to nearly 30,000 feet in one minute.

Student pilots fly the T-38A to learn supersonic techniques, aerobatics, formation, night and instrument flying and cross-country navigation. More than 60,000 pilots have earned their wings in the T-38A. Test pilots and flight test engineers are trained in T-38A's at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. NASA uses T-38A aircraft as trainers for astronauts and as observers and chase planes on programs such as the space shuttle.

T-38 Specifications
Primary FunctionAdvanced jet pilot trainer
ContractorNorthrop Corp.
Power PlantTwo General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines with afterburners
Thrust2,900 pounds (1,315 kilograms) with afterburners
Length46 feet, 4 1/2 inches (14 meters)
Height12 feet, 10 1/2 inches (3.8 meters)
Wingspan25 feet, 3 inches (7.6 meters)
Speed812 mph (Mach 1.08 at sea level)
CeilingAbove 55,000 feet (16,667 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight12,500 pounds (5,670 kilograms)
Range1,000 miles (870 nautical miles)
ArmamentT-38A: none; AT-38B has provisions for external armament
CrewTwo, student and instructor
Date DeployedMarch 1961
Unit Cost$756,000
InventoryActive force, 562; ANG, 0; Reserve 0


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.