The Boeing T-7A Red Hawk single-engine trainer aircraft recently demonstrated in-flight restart at 20,000 feet above an Illinois test area.
During the demonstration, the GE F404 turbofan engine of the aircraft was shut off in flight and then the crew flew the jet for 48 seconds before restarting the engine and landing back at Boeing’s St. Louis site.
“Engine air start testing requires a large amount of preparation, planning and teamwork,” said T-7A Chief Pilot Steve Schmidt. “It’s a test of all the subsystems built for backup in the event a pilot would have to shut the engine down in an emergency and power it back up again.”
Schmidt performed the test with fellow Boeing Pilot William Berryman. The test was the latest success for a program that’s meeting all its critical development milestones. The company expects to deliver the first T-7A Red Hawk to the U.S. Air Force in 2023.
“This is a testament not only to the confidence our pilots have in the reliability of the T-7A aircraft, but also to the team who designed, engineered and built this new trainer aircraft for the Air Force,” said Chuck Dabundo, T-7 vice president and program manager.
Designed by Boeing and Saab, the T-7A has already accumulated more than 175 hours of flight time in more than 160 developmental test flights.
In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to supply T-7A Red Hawk aircraft and training simulators. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators.
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.
The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment to replace the Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old fleet of Northrop T-38C Talon trainer jets.
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.