U.S. Air Force begins flight tests for T-7A Red Hawk digital trainer aircraftNews
November 13, 2023
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk military trainer successfully arrived at Edwards Air Force Base on November 8, a move that kicks off the U.S. Air Force developmental flight-test campaign for the aircraft. When all tests are completed, the T-7A is intended to be the replacement pilot-training capability for the T-38 Talon, which was first fielded in the early 1960s.
The aircraft -- using the call sign APT-2 -- is the first production representative jet off the assembly line and was piloted by a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew. According to the Air Force announcement, the aircrew collaboration in the cockpit represents the structure of the T-7A Integrated Test Force, which will see Air Force and Boeing team members working shoulder-to-shoulder to rapidly test and certify the aircraft. The Air Force says that the T-7A team has been leveraging digital transformation through Distributed Test Operations since 2019, a method of collaborating that enables seamless networked capability between Boeing’s facilities in St. Louis and mission control rooms at Edwards AFB.
Maj. Jonathan Aronoff, T-7A test pilot, said of the first flight: "This arrival marks an exciting transition into the next phase of developmental flight. The T-7A gives immense capability updates that will allow the Air Force to train the next generation of combat aviators. Success of first delivery is truly a testament to the joint USAF-industry team we have in place.”
The T-7A is a joint Boeing-Saab effort, with Saab delivering the aft sections of the aircraft plus associated subsystems. The T-7A Red Hawk -- whose name echoes the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their distinctive red-tailed aircraft from World War II -- accomplished its its first Air Force-piloted flight in June, 2023.