T-38 Get New Life With Pacer Classic III Mods

Issue: 7 / 2018

Designed in the 1950s, the T-38 Talon is a tandem, two-seat aircraft that became the world’s first and most produced supersonic trainer with over 1,100 being built and thus far, has trained an estimated 72,000 pilots from the US Air Force, foreign nations and NASA. It has been affectionately nicknamed “white rocket” due to its thrust-to-weight ratio. Since entering service, each active aircraft has received structural, avionics and propulsion upgrades that have kept the aircraft up-to-date and have allowed many airframes to accumulate as many as 20,000 hours of high-G supersonic flight. To keep them going, the 575th AMXS T-38 Talon depot maintenance team has been providing current upgrade modifications known as Pacer Classic III since 2015 and have to date, successfully completed them on 40 aircraft. The modification involves replacing 185 separate primary structures such as longerons, bulkheads, skins and former assemblies, inspecting and assessing the life of 155 additional components and repairing or replacing hundreds of other parts.