US Air Force's First T-7A Red Hawk Completes
Inaugural Flight; Enters EMD Phase
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force completed the inaugural flight of the service’s first T-7A Red
Hawk on Wednesday, marking the start of the engineering and manufacturing
development (EMD) phase of the program.
During the 63-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.
performance of the aircraft and its advanced cockpit and systems
are game changers for U.S. Air Force student pilots and
instructors alike,” said Turner, whose grandfather and father were
both U.S. Air Force fighter pilots. “We’ve come a long way in
training since my family role models flew.”
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 T-7A will enhance
warfighter training through:
- Improved pilot readiness:
The all-new advanced pilot training system uses high resolution
ground-based training systems and simulators to deliver robust and
realistic integrated live, virtual and constructive training
- Safety: Model-based engineering enabled testing
throughout the aircraft’s design and build to help ensure safety
before the first flight. The T-7A’s cockpit egress system is one
safest of any trainer.
- Flexibility: With open
architecture software and digital fly-by-wire controls, the T-7A
supports training for a wide variety of fighter and bomber pilots
and can evolve as technologies, threats and training needs change.
“This is an exciting
time for the entire team,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, U.S. Air Force
T-7A Red Hawk program manager. “The Red Hawk’s digital design
integrating advanced training capabilities will drastically
improve pilot training for the next generation of fighter and
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.
“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,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and
program manager, Boeing T-7 Programs. “We remain focused on
engineering ways to better prepare warfighters for changing
mission demands and emerging threats.”
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