On Thursday, General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) announced that it is teaming with the Alenia Aermacchi subsidiary of Italy's Finmeccanica, to bid for a contract to build the U.S. Air Force's next generation training jet.

USAF is currently accepting bids to build what it's calling the "T-X Trainer," a new jet to replace the service's aging T-38 fleet. General Dynamics, generally thought of today as an armored ground vehicles specialist, actually has a long history in flight. At one time, it owned the General Atomics company that today dominates the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. Another former GD subsidiary even inverted the F-16 fighter jet . So, while presently ground-bound, the company does have a history to build on. Accordingly, in its press release, General Dynamics notes that it will be serving as the "prime contractor" on its bid with aeronautics specialist Alenia Aermacchi.

Together, the companies plan to offer the U.S. a version of Alenia Aermacchi's T-100 trainer, upgraded to incorporate USAF requirements. To improve their chances of winning, General Dynamics says further that the new T-X jet would be built here in the U.S., "with an emphasis on United States-made components and equipment."

Investors seem to like the news. In response to the company's announcement, General Dynamics shares are up 1.7%, at $71.01.

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