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Boeing–Saab T-7 Red Hawk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

T-7 Red Hawk
Boeing-Saab T-X prototypes.
Role Advanced trainer
National origin United States/Sweden
Manufacturer Boeing / Saab
First flight 20 December 2016
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 2021–present
Number built 2 prototypes[1]

The Boeing–Saab T-7 Red Hawk,[2] initially known as the Boeing T-X (later Boeing–Saab T-X),[3][4] is an American/Swedish supersonic advanced jet trainer produced by Boeing with Saab. On 27 September 2018, the United States Air Force (USAF) picked it for the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon as the service's advanced jet trainer.

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The USAF's Air Education and Training Command (AETC) began developing the requirements for a replacement for the supersonic Northrop T-38 Talon as early as 2003. Originally, the replacement trainer was expected to enter service around 2020. A fatigue failure of a T-38C killed the two-person crew in 2008 and the USAF advanced the target date of initial operational capability (IOC) to 2017.[5] In the fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the USAF suggested delaying the initial operating capability to FY2020 with the contract award not expected before FY2016.[6] Shrinking budgets and higher-priority modernization projects pushed the IOC of the T-X program winner to "fiscal year 2023 or 2024". Although the program was left out of the FY 2014 budget entirely, the service still viewed the trainer as a priority.[7]

Boeing teamed up with Swedish aerospace firm Saab to compete for the T-7 program. On 13 September 2016,[8] the team unveiled prototypes of the Boeing T-X, a single-engine advanced jet trainer with a twin tail, tandem seating, and retractable tricycle landing gear, all powered by a General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine.[9][10] The first T-X aircraft flew on 20 December 2016.[11][12] The Boeing-Saab team formally submitted their entry after the Air Force opened the T-7 program to bids on Dec. 30, 2016.[13]

On 27 September 2018, Air Force officials announced that Boeing's design would be its new advanced jet trainer under an up-to-US$9.2 billion program that would purchase 351 aircraft, 46 simulators, maintenance training and support. This contract has options for up to 475 airplanes in total.[14][15][16][17] In 2018, Boeing recorded a $691-million pre-tax charge during the third quarter, in part because of the T-X program.[18]

U.S. Air Force publicity image of the T-7A Red Hawk showing Red Tail livery

In May 2019, Saab announced that it would open a U.S. manufacturing facility for the T-X in Indiana with Purdue University.[19][20]

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.[21][22]

The design officially entered series production in February 2021.[23] 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.[24] On completion of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, Saab's brand new facility in West Lafayette, Indiana will serve as the manufacturing hub for the T-7A Red Hawk’s aft section and sub-systems such as hydraulics, fuel systems and secondary power.[24] Saab has developed new software for the T-7 to help provide for cheaper and faster development. The T-7A employed digital engineering that went from development to the first test flight within 36 months.[25] The T-7A has an advanced and digitized production line that takes only 30 minutes to splice the aft section with the wings.[26] The digital build process allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process.[27]

The first production T-7 was rolled out on 28 April 2022.[28]

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.[29]

On 18 May 2023, the Government Accountability Office released a report on the T-7 program detailing problems with the software and safety systems and other delays that saw the USAF delay a production decision to February 2025.[inconsistent] The report said that a schedule provided by Boeing in January 2023 was optimistic and dependent on favorable assumptions. Notwithstanding the delayed production decision, the report noted that Boeing still planned to start producing the first T-7s in early 2024.[30][31]

On 28 June 2023, the first flight of the T-7A production aircraft was conducted from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, by Major Bryce Turner, a test pilot with the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and Steve Schmidt, Boeing’s chief T-7 test pilot.[32][33]


The T-7's design allows for future missions to be added, such as the aggressor and light attack/fighter roles.[34] In the training environment, it has been specifically designed for high-G and high angle-of-attack maneuvers and night operations, with an emphasis on being easily maintained. The aircraft is equipped with a single GE F404 turbofan engine, but produces three times the total thrust as the twinjet T-38.[35]

Operational history

Potential operators

Boeing aims to sell over 2,700 Red Hawks globally. In addition to the U.S. Air Force, the company is also targeting Serbia and Australia as potential international customers.[29]

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is looking to replace 33 BAE Hawk Mk 127 Lead-in Fighter (LIF) jet trainers, which it first ordered in 1997. Boeing intends to participate in the tender of the RAAF’s LIFT program.[36]

Serbia is looking at the T-7A Red Hawk as one possible replacement for its G-4s and J-22 trainer aircraft.[36]

The T-7B variant is also one of the contenders for the United States Navy's Tactical Surrogate Aircraft program, with a possible sale of 64 aircraft.[37][38]

Moreover the F/T-7X, a variant of the T-7, is one of the contenders for the United States Air Force's Advanced Tactical Trainer program, with a possible 100 to 400 aircraft sale.[39][40][41]

Boeing has also pitched the T-7 to the Brazilian Air Force.[42][43]


Two prototypes were constructed for evaluation:[44][45]
  • N381TX, the first prototype built and first T-7 to fly
  • N382TX, the second prototype used in testing
T-7A Red Hawk
Production aircraft for the U.S. Air Force as the winner of the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon.[29] Designated eT-7A prior to delivery, identifying it as a digitally engineered aircraft.[2][46]
a variant proposed for the United States Navy's Tactical Surrogate Aircraft program, with a possible sale of 64 aircraft.[47][48]
a variant proposed for the United States Air Force's Advanced Tactical Trainer program, with a possible 100 to 400 aircraft sale.[39][40][49]


 United States

Specifications (T-7A)

Data from Flight Global,[11] General Electric Aerospace Blog,[50] Air & Space Forces Magazine,[51] and Military Factory[52]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2: pilot and instructor/passenger
  • Length: 46 ft 11 in (14.30 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 7 in (9.32 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F404-GE-103 afterburning turbofan, 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust dry, 17,200 lbf (77 kN) with afterburner
  • Maximum speed: 702 kn (808 mph, 1,300 km/h)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.05
  • Cruise speed: 526 kn (605 mph, 974 km/h)
  • Range: 990 nmi (1,140 mi, 1,830 km)
  • Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m) +
  • Rate of climb: 33,500 ft/min (170.2 m/s)

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


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External links

This page was last edited on 15 August 2023, at 16:10
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