The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer for the U.S. Air Force has completed its 1,400-mile cross-country flight to Edwards Air Force Base in California to begin its next phase of flight testing. The aircraft, known as APT-2, is the first production representative jet off the assembly line and was piloted by a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew. The T-7A Red Hawk made stops at Air Force bases in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona to refuel and offer base employees a firsthand look at the new advanced trainer before the final leg to Edwards. Boeing delivered the first Red Hawk to the Air Force on September 15.
“Like most test programs, we’ll have discovery and we’ll overcome it quickly. This is the right team to go after any challenges we find,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, division chief, U.S. Air Force, T-7A Red Hawk program.
“This is a pivotal moment for the T-7 program. Bringing the T-7A Red Hawk to the heart of the U.S. Air Force’s test community at Edwards for dynamic flight testing will prove the jet’s performance as an agile and safe trainer for future pilots,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and program manager, T-7 programs.
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 (USAF) picked it for the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon as the service’s advanced jet trainer. Once Air Force test pilots are familiar with the aircraft, they will expand the flight envelope starting with flutter testing. Two other Red Hawks will follow to test various flight attributes and systems as part of a rigorous series of tests.
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. On 16 September 2019, the USAF 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, an aircraft flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, the U.S. Army Air Force’s first black fighter squadron. Boeing intends to offer an armed version of the T-7 to replace aging Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet fleets around the world.