During a roll-out ceremony on Thursday, April 28, the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer test aircraft built under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program was revealed at Boeing’s production facilities in St Louis, Missouri, with senior representatives of the United States Air Force (USAF), Boeing, and Saab all in attendance. The aircraft is part of a new, modern, and advanced pilot training system which will be delivered to the USAF, known as T-7A Red Hawk in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. With the T-7A Red Hawk, Boeing and Saab have applied an innovative digital strategy for design, development, and production of military aircraft.
“Today is the culmination of years of work, design, and partnership between Boeing and Saab. Saab’s knowledge and expertise contributed to the design and production of this world-class trainer, with more than a thousand Saab employees involved. Collectively we set out an ambitious vision: to redefine what a trainer jet is, but also how they are made, and we have succeeded. Saab’s new advanced manufacturing and production facility for the fully installed aft fuselage of the T-7A Red Hawk, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, is a testament to Saab’s commitment to the U.S. as a multi-domestic company,” said Saab’s President and CEO Micael Johansson.
For several years, model-based engineering has been integral to Saab’s success – first, with the development of Gripen E, and now, as part of the T-7 program. The close working partnership between Boeing and Saab enabled the program to deliver an all-new aircraft in record time, through a relentless focus on efficiency and accuracy. The next steps for the program include a first flight for the EMD T-7A and Saab’s continued knowledge and technology transfer to its U.S. operations.
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. On 16 September 2019, the USAF officially named the aircraft the “T-7A Red Hawk” as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, who painted their airplanes’ tails red, and to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, one of the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. Boeing intends to offer an armed version of the T-7 as replacement for aging Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet fleets around the world.