The T-7A Red Hawk is the Air Force’s developmental next-generation, supersonic advanced jet trainer. The service selected the joint-venture Boeing-SAAB aircraft as the winner of the $9.2 billion “T-X” competition to replace the T-38 on Sept. 20, 2018.
The Air Force dubbed the type “Red Hawk” in honor of the WWII Tuskegee Airmen. The T-7A was rapidly developed in less than three years using digital design techniques earning USAF’s initial “e” prefix designating it part of the “Digital Century Series” to quickly field new, low-cost designs.
eT-7A was designed from the outset to replicate the systems and performance of advanced 4th and 5th-generation aircraft including high-G/high angle of attack performance and a blend of synthetic and onboard systems including simulated radar, defensive systems, data links, and smart weapons.
It incorporates fly-by wire controls, a fully digital glass cockpit, “stadium seating” to improve backseat visibility, next-gen ACES 5 ejection seats, modular systems architecture, and maintainer-friendly design to cut downtime and lifecycle cost.
T-7A is being developed in tandem with the Ground-Based Training System simulator and courseware to provide AETC with a seamless, comprehensive flight training program. The first of two “production ready” airframes first flew from Boeing’s facility at Saint Louis on Dec. 21, 2016. The first two aircraft launched initial flight testing and five additional airframes will support Engineering and Manufacturing Development testing at Edwards beginning flight-envelope expansion.
The first production T-7A is planned for delivery to Randolph in 2023, and FY21 funds construction of the initial Ground-Based Training System simulator at JBSA Lackland.
Contractors: Boeing-SAAB, General Electric (engine), Collins Aerospace (cockpit/ejection seats).
First Flight: Dec. 20, 2016 (T-X).
Delivered: 2023 onward (planned).
IOC: 2024 (planned).
Production: 351 (planned).
Inventory: Three (contractor-owned test airframes).
Operator: Boeing, AFMC; Planned: AETC
Aircraft Location: Edwards AFB, Calif. Planned: Columbus AFB, Miss.; Laughlin AFB, JBSA- Randolph, and Sheppard AFB, Texas; Vance AFB, Okla.
Active Variant: •eT-7A. Developmental next-generation advanced trainer.
Dimensions: Span 30.6 ft, length 46.9 ft, height 13.5 ft.
Weight: Max T-O 12,125 lb.
Power Plant: General Electric F404-GE-103 afterburning turbofan, 17,200 lb thrust with afterburning.
Performance: Speed Mach 1+, range approx. 1,140 miles.
Ceiling: 50,000 ft+.
Accommodation: Two pilots on ACES 5 zero/zero ejection seats.