Boeing-Saab T-7 Red Hawk

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T-7 Red Hawk
Two parked Boeing T-Xs (181005-F-PO640-0021).JPG
Role Advanced trainer
National origin United States/Sweden
Manufacturer Boeing / Saab
First flight 20 December 2016
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 2021–present
Number built 2 prototypes[1]

The Boeing-Saab T-7 Red Hawk,[2] initially known as the Boeing T-X (later Boeing-Saab T-X),[3][4] is an American/Swedish advanced jet trainer produced by Boeing in partnership with Saab. It was selected on 27 September 2018 by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the winner of the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon.


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.[5] In the Fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the USAF suggested delaying the initial operating capability to FY2020 with the contract award not expected before FY2016.[6] 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.[7]

In cooperation with its Swedish aerospace partner, Saab,[8][9] 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.[10]

Boeing revealed its aircraft to the public on 13 September 2016.[11] The first T-X aircraft flew on 20 December 2016.[12][13]

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, 46 simulators, maintenance training, and support are to be supplied at a program cost of US$9.2 billion.[14][15][16][17]

U.S. Air Force publicity image of the T-7A Red Hawk showing Red Tail livery

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.[18][19]

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.[20][21]

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.[22]


The design officially entered series production in February 2021.[23] In April 2021, Saab Group delivered one aft section of T-7A aircraft to the Boeing St. Louis plant. On 24 July 2021, Saab had delivered the second aft section to the Boeing St. Louis plant. Boeing will splice Saab’s aft section with the front section, fins, wings and tail assembly to become a complete test aircraft for use in the EMD’s flight test program.[24]

On completion of Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD), Saab's brand new facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, will serve as the manufacturing hub for the T-7A Red Hawk’s aft section and sub-systems attached aft section such as hydraulics, fuels and secondary power.[25]

Saab has developed new software for the T-7 to help provide for cheaper and faster development. The T-7A employed digital engineering that went from development to the first test flight within 36 months.[26] The T-7A has an advanced and digitized production line that takes only 30 minutes to splice aft section with wings.[27]

The digital build process allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process, said Chuk Dabundo, Boeing’s Vice President of the T-7A program.[28] The T-7's design allows for future missions to be added, such as a light attack or fighter.[29]

Operational history[edit]

Potential operators[edit]

Boeing aims to sell over 2,700 Red Hawks globally. In addition to the U.S. Air Force, the company is also targeting Serbia and Australia as potential international customers.[30]

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is looking to replace 33 BAE Hawk Mk 127 Lead-in Fighter (LIF) jet trainers, which it first ordered in 1997. Boeing intends to participate in the tender of the RAAF’s LIFT program.[31]

Serbia is looking at the T-7A Red Hawk as one possible replacement for its G-4s and J-22 trainer aircraft.[31] Serbia’s policy of military neutrality with NATO will allow Serbia to seek advanced weaponry from the U.S. and its allies.[32]


Two prototypes for evaluation.[33][34]
T-7A Red Hawk
Production aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.[35]


 United States


Data from Flight Global[12][36]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F404-GE-103 afterburning turbofan, 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust dry, 17,000 lbf (76 kN) with afterburner

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ Trimble, Stephen (24 April 2017). "Boeing/Saab fly second T-X test aircraft". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  2. ^ "T-7A Red Hawk begins U.S. Production". 2021-02-19. Archived from the original on 2021-04-19. Retrieved 2021-12-30. A new era in aircraft design and assembly has begun as the first U.S. portion of the Boeing-Saab eT-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer officially entered the jet’s state-of-the-art production line.
  3. ^ "The Journey to West Lafayette". Archived from the original on 2020-10-25. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  4. ^ "Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) Program". / Archived from the original on 2021-12-30. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  5. ^ Trimble, Stephan (22 June 2010), "US Air Force, industry prepare for T-38 replacement", Flight International, retrieved 20 September 2010.
  6. ^ "USAF delays T-38 trainer replacement to 2020". Flight Global. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Budget constraints delay new trainer", Air force times, 15 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Boeing and Saab Sign Joint Development Agreement on T-X Family of Systems Training Competition". Boeing. Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  9. ^ Clark, Colin. "Boeing Takes T-X Lead as Northrop Joins Raytheon & Drops Out of T-X". Breaking Defense. Archived from the original on 2017-04-16. Retrieved 2017-04-16.
  10. ^ "Boeing T-X Advanced Pilot Training system" (PDF). Saab. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Boeing T-X Sees the Light". Boeing. Archived from the original on 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  12. ^ a b "Boeing and Saab complete first T-X flight". Flight Global. 20 December 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  13. ^ Niles, Russ (20 December 2016). "Boeing/Saab T-X First Flight". AVweb. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Air Force awards $9B contract to Boeing for next training jet". Defense News. 2018-09-27. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Air Force awards next-generation fighter and bomber trainer". Saab. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  16. ^ O'Connor, Kate (2 October 2018). "Air Force Selects New Combat Trainer". AVweb. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Boeing: It's Official: Boeing Wins T-X!". Boeing. Archived from the original on 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  18. ^ "Saab announces new U.S. site for advanced manufacturing and production". Saab. Archived from the original on 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  19. ^ "Saab's global defense and security company lands in Indiana, to open site near Purdue University". Purdue. Archived from the original on 2019-05-08. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  20. ^ "Air Force announces newest Red Tail: 'T-7A Red Hawk'". AF. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019. The name Red Hawk honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II. …The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, the U.S. Army Air Forces' first African American fighter squadron.
  21. ^ "This is the name of the Air Force's new training jet". Defense News. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Boeing sees T-7 as combat replacement for Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet". Flight Global. 14 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  23. ^ O'Connor, Kate (24 February 2021). "Boeing Begins T-7A Red Hawk Production". AVweb. Archived from the original on 26 February 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  24. ^ GDC (2021-07-27). "Saab delivers aft section of T-7A trainer for testing". Global Defense Corp. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  25. ^ "Saab delivers aft section of T-7A trainer for testing". Global Defense Corp. 2021-07-27. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  26. ^ Rogoway, Tyler. "The Air Force's New T-X Jet Trainer Now Has An Official Name And Designation". The Drive. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  27. ^ "The USAF Looking To Adopt Saab Design Methodologies To Arm T-7A Red Hawk Or Develop F-36 Kingsnake". Global Defense Corp. 2021-04-06. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  28. ^ "Boeing Started Production Of T-7A Red Hawk". Global Defense Corp. 2021-04-08. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  29. ^ "Boeing: T-7A Red Hawk". Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  30. ^ Reim2020-07-14T19:09:00+01:00, Garrett. "Boeing sees T-7 as combat replacement for Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet". Flight Global. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  31. ^ a b Trevithick, Joseph. "Australia, Serbia Emerge As First Potential T-7A Red Hawk Jet Trainer Export Customers". The Drive. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  32. ^ NATO. "Relations with Serbia". NATO. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  33. ^ "Inquiry Results N381TX", Registry N-Number, FAA.
  34. ^ "Inquiry Results N382TX", Registry N-Number, FAA.
  35. ^ Reim2020-07-14T19:09:00+01:00, Garrett. "Boeing sees T-7 as combat replacement for Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet". Flight Global. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  36. ^ Popular Choice: The GE F404-powered Boeing T-7A Trainer Named to "Best of What's New" List, General electric.

External links[edit]