Earlier this month, the first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer was delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in California. The ensuing flight test program is expected to result in the new aircraft type replacing the Northrop T-38 Talon, in service since the third month of the Kennedy Administration.
Known as the APT-2, the single-engine trainer was flown on the delivery mission by a joint USAF/Boeing crew, according to the Air Force. The journey included stops at Vance AFB in Oklahoma, Kirkland AFB in New Mexico and Luke AFB in Arizona. The joint crew is emblematic of the T-7A Integrated Test Force, combining USAF and Boeing team members “shoulder to shoulder” as they test and certify the aircraft for duty.
USAF major Jonathan Aronoff, a T-7A test pilot, said, “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 Red Hawk, distinctive by its red tail feathers, is, in part, an homage to the World War II-era Tuskegee Airmen, who flew red-tailed P-51 Mustangs as the first Black U.S. pilots to serve in combat.