The US Air Force has accepted the first of five T-7A Red Hawk advanced training aircraft from Boeing earlier this month.
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Engineering, manufacturing, and development flight testing of the aircraft is planned to start later this year at St Louis then Edwards Air Force Base for the five T-7A aircraft.
The aircraft, combined with advanced ground-based simulators, are expected to provide a tactical advantage in training the next generation of fighter and bomber pilots for the US Air Force.
The Red Hawk program leveraging a glass cockpit, stadium seating, and embedded training is expected to replace the ageing T-38 Talon supersonic jet trainer program.
Following completed test readiness review and flight test planning, the five aircraft will begin testing and join two contractor-owned production representative jets that have completed over 500 flights testing performance and flying qualities.
“I continue to be amazed by this team. There has been a lot of effort over the last couple months to get through first flight and now aircraft acceptance,” said Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s T-7 program manager Colonel Kirt Cassell.
“We are excited to get these EMD aircraft into flight test.”
The T-7A program contract was originally awarded in September 2018 to Boeing Defense, Space & Security and programmed to deliver an integrated system of 351 aircraft, 46 ground-based training systems, and associated support equipment.
“The Red Hawk integrated test team is ready and looking forward to begin EMD test and evaluation,” said T-7A chief developmental tester Dr Troy C Hoeger.