Boeing has unveiled the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer jet that is slated for delivery to the U.S. Air Force. The jet is one of 351 aircraft to be delivered to the Air Force under terms of a $9.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing in September 2018.
Produced by Boeing in partnership with Saab, the T-7A Red Hawk will replace the Northrop T-38 trainer – which has been in service for half a century – to train Air Force pilots to fly fourth and fifth-generation aircraft. The new 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 fully digitally designed aircraft 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, who flew their aircraft with red tails during 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,” said Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force. “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.”
The aircraft will remain in St. Louis, where it will undergo ground and flight testing before delivery to the U.S. Air Force. The T-7A program takes place at Boeing’s site in St. Louis, while the aft section of the trainer aircraft is built by Saab in Linkoping, Sweden. Saab will soon begin producing this section at its new production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.