Boeing and the U.S. Air Force today completed the inaugural flight of the service’s first T-7A Red Hawk, marking the start of the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the program. During the 1 hour and 3 minute flight, U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryce Turner, 416th Test Squadron, and Steve Schmidt, Boeing T-7 chief test pilot, validated key aspects of the aircraft and demonstrated the power and agility of the Air Force’s first advanced trainer to be digitally designed, built and tested. The aircraft is one of five EMD aircraft that will be delivered to the Air Force Air Education and Training Command for further testing. The T-7A’s vibrant red tails are a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American U.S. military aviators who flew red-tailed fighters during World War II.
“The stable performance of the aircraft and its advanced cockpit and systems are game changers for U.S. Air Force student pilots and instructors alike. We’ve come a long way in training since my family role models flew,” said Turner, whose grandfather and father were both U.S. Air Force fighter pilots.
“This first flight with the Air Force represents our team’s commitment to delivering a new level of safety and training for fighter and bomber pilots. We remain focused on engineering ways to better prepare warfighters for changing mission demands and emerging threats,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and program manager, Boeing T-7 Programs.
“This is an exciting time for the entire team. The Red Hawk’s digital design integrating advanced training capabilities will drastically improve pilot training for the next generation of fighter and bomber pilots,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, U.S. Air Force T-7A Red Hawk program manager.
The T-7A will enhance warfighter training through:
The Boeing–Saab T-7 Red Hawk, initially known as the Boeing T-X (later Boeing–Saab T-X), is an American/Swedish supersonic advanced jet trainer produced by Boeing with Saab. On 27 September 2018, the U.S. Air Force picked it for the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon as the service’s advanced jet trainer. The T-7A moved from firm concept to flight testing in 36 months. A combination of model-based engineering, 3D design and advanced manufacturing increased first-time quality by 75% and reduced assembly hours by 80%. In 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators and support. The T-7A will replace the Air Force’s aging T-38 aircraft. T-7B is a variant proposed for the United States Navy’s Tactical Surrogate Aircraft program, with a possible sale of 64 aircraft.