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Boeing T-X / T-7 Red Hawk


The USAF's Air Education and Training Command (AETC) began developing the requirements for a replacement for the 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. In the Fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the USAF suggested delaying the initial operating capability to FY2020 with the contract award not expected before FY2016. 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.
In cooperation with its Swedish aerospace partner, Saab, Boeing's submission to the competition was the Boeing T-X, a single-engine advanced jet trainer with a twin tail, tandem seating, and retractable tricycle landing gear. The submitted aircraft and demonstration models featured a General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine.
The Boeing T-X jet fighter trainer was developed in partnership with Swedish defense contractor Saab. The partners' strategy was demonstrating to the Air Force and the US Department of Defense the ability of the "blank sheet" aircraft to compete with off-the-shelf competitors for a contract in terms of quick delivery.
It has twin tails derived from Boeing's F/A-18 for greater maneuverability and a high angle of attack, stadium seating, an advanced cockpit with embedded training, and the ability to blend with state-of-the-art ground-based training. In addition, it's billed as being maintenance-friendly in anticipation of decades of service.
Boeing revealed its aircraft to the public on 13 September 2016. The first T-X aircraft flew on 20 December 2016, as BTX-1, on a 55-minute flight. Two protypes were built.
On 27 September 2018, Boeing's design was officially announced as the USAF's new advanced jet trainer to replace the T-38 Talon. A total of 351 aircraft and 46 simulators, maintenance training and support are to be supplied at a program cost of US$9.2 billion.
In May 2019, Saab announced that it would open a U.S. manufacturing facility for the T-X in Indiana in partnership with Purdue University.
On 16 September 2019, the USAF officially 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, one of the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen.
U.S. Air Force publicity photo of the T-7A Red Hawk showing Red Tail livery
Boeing intends to offer an armed version of the T-7 as replacement for aging Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet fleets around the world.
A second T-X was being ground tested in 2017.
The design officially entered production in February 2021 as T-7A for the U.S. Air Force.
Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F404-GE-103, 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust dry, 17,000 lbf (76 kN) with afterburner
Crew: 2

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