The USAF’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) began developing the requirements for a replacement for the Northrop T-38 Talon as early as 2003. Originally, the replacement trainer was expected to enter service around 2020. A fatigue failure of a T-38C killed the two-person crew in 2008 and the USAF advanced the target date of initial operational capability (IOC) to 2017. In the Fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the USAF suggested delaying the initial operating capability to FY2020 with the contract award not expected before FY2016. Shrinking budgets and higher priority modernization projects pushed the IOC of the T-X program winner to “fiscal year 2023 or 2024”. Although the program was left out of the FY 2014 budget entirely, the service still viewed the trainer as a priority.