Boeing has unveiled the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer jet to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The jet, one of 351 the U.S. Air Force plans to order, was unveiled prior to official delivery. The fully digitally designed aircraft was built and tested using advanced manufacturing, agile software development and digital engineering technology significantly reducing the time from design to first flight. The aircraft also features open architecture software, providing growth and flexibility to meet future mission needs. The T-7A Red Hawk incorporates a red-tailed livery in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. These airmen made up the first African American aviation unit to serve in the U.S. military.
“The Tuskegee Airmen are one of the most celebrated units in our Air Force history, and the T-7A honors the bravery and skill of these trailblazers. Like the Airmen they were named and painted to pay homage to, the T-7A Red Hawks break down the barriers of flight. These digitally-engineered aircraft will make it possible for a diverse cross section of future fighter and bomber pilots to be trained, and provide an advanced training system and capabilities that will meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s national security environment, said Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
“We’re excited and honored to deliver this digitally advanced, next-generation trainer to the U.S. Air Force. This aircraft is a tangible example of how Boeing, its suppliers and partners are leading the digital engineering revolution. T-7A will prepare pilots for future missions for decades to come,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
The aircraft will remain in St. Louis where it will undergo ground and flight tests before being delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The T-7A program resides at Boeing’s St. Louis facility with the aft section of the trainer being built by Saab in Linkoping, Sweden. Saab will soon start producing that section at their new production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Boeing-Saab T-7 Red Hawk, initially known as the Boeing T-X (later Boeing-Saab T-X), is an American/Swedish advanced jet trainer produced by Boeing in partnership with Saab. It was selected on 27 September 2018 by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the winner of the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon. The design officially entered series production in February 2021. In April 2021, Saab Group delivered one aft section of T-7A aircraft to the Boeing St. Louis plant. On 24 July 2021, Saab had delivered the second aft section to the Boeing St. Louis plant. Boeing will splice Saab’s aft section with the front section, fins, wings and tail assembly to become a complete test aircraft for use in the EMD’s flight test program. Saab has developed new software for the T-7 to help provide for cheaper and faster development.