Eclipse Aerospace has submitted a response to a US Air Force request for information (RFI) for a very light jet to support the service's undergraduate pilot training syllabus. The USAF is seeking information for a study to potentially replace or upgrade its existing fleet of Hawker T-1A Jayhawk trainers, which are based on the civilian Hawker T-400 business jet.
"I have met with senior Air Force leaders and they are looking for an efficient and affordable solution to their challenges," says Mason Holland, Eclipse's chief executive officer. "In our response to the RFI we have proposed a solution that is expected to save the USAF hundreds of millions of dollars over the next ten years while upgrading their fleet with the most efficient and technologically advanced light jet currently in production."
The company claims that its Eclipse Jet could save the USAF 13 million gallons of fuel per year. Eclipse also asserts that the Eclipse Jet is 70% more fuel-efficient and 70% less costly to support than the current Jayhawk fleet. "At today's cost of jet fuel, fuel costs alone for this program would decrease by more than $500 million," says Eclipse co-founder Mike Press.
Eclipse asserts that operating a 20 year old fleet of legacy business jets that has become increasingly expensive to support and maintain for the USAF.
"From a budgetary viewpoint, our response demonstrates how the USAF can save over one billion dollars of O&M [operations and maintenance] costs over ten years by converting to an Eclipse Jet fleet," Holland says.