Boeing T-7A Test Aircraft Completes Low Altitude High Speed Flight Test

Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk test aircraft has completed a low altitude high-speed flight test, the company announced.

During the test flight, the aircraft reached 560 mph/901 kmph at just 150 feet/45.7 meters off the ground. The jet will pave the way for the U.S. Air Force advanced pilot training system T-7A Red Hawk.

The Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk, originally known as the Boeing T-X, is an advanced jet trainer developed by Boeing in partnership with Sweden’s Saab Group for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer jet program.

The T-7A features twin tails, slats and big leading-edge root extensions that provide deft handling at low speeds, allowing it to fly in a way that better approximates real-world demands and is specifically designed to prepare pilots for fifth-generation aircraft. The aircraft’s single engine generates nearly three times more thrust than the dual engines of the T-38C Talon which it is replacing.

The aircraft introduces capabilities that prepare pilots for fifth-generation fighters, including high-G environment, information and sensor management, high angle of attack flight characteristics, night operations and transferable air-to-air and air-to-ground skills.

On 16 September 2019, the USAF officially named the T-X aircraft the “T-7A Red Hawk” as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, who painted their plane’s tails red, and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

A $9.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing in September 2018 calls for 351 T-7A aircraft, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment to be delivered and installed, replacing Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons.

The first T-7A aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38C to the T-7A. Those bases include Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB and Sheppard AFB, Texas; and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

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