The T-7A Red Hawk is one of five engineering and manufacturing development aircraft that will be used for flight testing this summer in St. Louis and will then transition to Edwards Air Force Base for testing in the fall.
The Boeing T-7A Red Hawk has successfully completed taxi tests, a critical step in verifying the ground-handling capabilities and systems of the advanced trainer for the US Air Force.
“The flight controls and commands to the fly-by-wire system were crisp and the aircraft maneuvered exceptionally well,” said Steve Schmidt, Boeing’s T-7 chief test pilot, in a company news release. “Everything operated as designed and expected.”
The aircraft is one of five engineering and manufacturing development aircraft that will be used for flight testing this summer in St. Louis and will then transition to Edwards Air Force Base for testing in the fall.
“Our priorities are developing this advanced trainer and getting it to future fighter and bomber pilots,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and T-7 program manager. “This test brings us one step closer to the T-7A Red Hawk taking to the skies.”
Since contract award, Boeing has flown two production representative jets up to six sorties a day recording more than 7,000 data and test points validating the platform’s reliability.
These problems are inhibiting the T-7A’s progress toward production. According to Air Force Magazine low-rate initial production won’t get the green light until February 2026, but it could not at that time estimate what effect the delay would have on IOC.
The first production aircraft now will not be delivered until December 2025.
The slip in the T-7A’s IOC date will now almost surely require the USAF to further extend the service of some of its 60-plus-year-old T-38 advanced jet trainers, which continue to receive structural modifications and cockpit improvements.
Designed using a digital thread, the T-7A aligns with the US Air Force’s Digital Century Series strategy by enabling the integration of new concepts and capabilities faster and more affordably through virtual testing. Then-Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett announced in September 2020 that Boeing’s Red Hawk trainer jet would be the first plane to earn an “e” designation, as the eT-7A, signifying it was designed and tested using digital engineering. The advanced trainer will provide future fighter and bomber pilots with fundamental and tactical training for 5th generation aircraft.
In September 2018, the USAF awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft (with options to buy as many as 475) and 46 associated ground-based training simulators. Saab is teamed with Boeing on the trainer and provides the aft fuselage of the jet.
The T-7 was named Red Hawk to honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, paying tribute to the legends of the past and the heroes of the future.
Photo credit: Boeing