T-38 Talon maintenance, repair and inspection program estimates over 6,000 hours for each aircraft


Zach Burleson (left), 809th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Non-Destructive Inspection technician, works on a T-38 as part of the Talon Repair Inspections and Maintenance (TRIM) program as Larry Hall (center), 809AMXS, and Robert Pilarczyk (right), Hill Engineering, observe, Aug. 24, 2022, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The TRIM program will be performed on 190 T-38 aircraft. The capability allows for localized depot-level maintenance to replace or repair key parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

By Jim Bono

502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


The T-38 Talon will undergo Talon Repair Inspection and Maintenance, or TRIM, modification to perform localized, depot-level maintenance to replace or repair key parts to keep these valuable training platforms mission ready.

“This program is vital to maintaining the service life of the airframe” said Bill Mickley, T-38 Airframe Lead Program manager. “The TRIM modification will address aging airframe-related issues to preclude grounding of these aircraft prior to its eventual retirement.”

It is estimated that each aircraft will receive more than 6,000 hours of maintenance and then be returned to their home units both at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and across the U.S. Maintenance will be performed on 190 T-38 aircraft and then they will be returned to their home units across the U.S. Air Force and the Navy Test Pilot School.

“The program will ensure aircraft availability for the necessary pilot training hours until the fleet is replaced by the T-7A Red Hawk, the all-new advanced pilot training system,” Mickley said. “Mission readiness is the key task for the depot heading the effort. Focused maintenance such as this will allow the T-38 to remain safe and relevant throughout its anticipated, 80-year lifespan.”

The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, ease of maintenance and safety record. Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38 for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. Air Combat CommandAir Force Materiel Command and NASA also use the T-38A in various roles.