One unit of the T-38 cost $756,000 in 1961, adjusted to today’s currency, per the US Air Force.
While the T-38 is no longer in production, the US Air Force commissioned a structural modification program — the T-38C Pace Classic III — in May 2018. The program’s purchase orders were awarded to CPI Aerostructures.
According to the Air Force Technology, the modification kits to maintain the T-38A, T38-B, and T-38C cost $67.5 million. The program to refit the trainers is expected to extend the airworthiness of the jets until at least 2030.
While the US continues to use the jets for training, several foreign air forces have since phased out the T-38.
For example, the Turkish Air Force once had 33 units of the T-38M variant, before announcing plans to replace them with a locally-built trainer. The Korean Air Force had 30 units of the T-38A variant but were returned to the US in 2009 and replaced with the locally-manufactured T-50 Golden eagle.
The US Air Force has also pursued a new trainer jet to replace the T-38. The T-7A Red Hawk, manufactured by Boeing, is expected to help pilots prepare for fifth-generation fighter jets, according to a September 2019 press release by the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs.
In 2018, the US Air Force paid Boeing $9.2 billion to develop 351 T-7A jets and 46 simulators and other relevant ground equipment. The first T-7A jet is scheduled for completion this year and will be delivered to the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.