Air Force Takes Delivery Of First Boeing T-7A Red Hawk Trainer


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.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


    • No, the “red tail” pilots had a delightful sense of humor with their paint scheme. Unfortunately the PC crowd today think that having fun needs to be medicated out of people.

  1. It’s certainly time the USAF should have a trainer more in line with the latest generation fighters our guys and gals will be flying, but IMO the T-38 remains the most beautiful airplane in the inventory, with its long graceful lines. It was a joy to fly with a roll rate of up to 720º/sec (I never tested that claim ;>) and the only way to tell you’d crossed the sound barrier was that little bump in the ASI. It did have some drawbacks: The seat pan was shaped like a Samsonite suitcase (which it was) so ischial hot spots were hard to avoid. The spin recovery technique was simple—eject!

    • I agree. Beautiful jet and flies like a dream! The fact that it has survived this long, albeit with new wings and many depot-level maintenance visits, etc., it is still a testament to superb engineering and excellent maintenance. Haven’t touched one in over 30 years, but still my favorite. BTW: I did test the roll rate, but couldn’t count fast enough.

  2. Good to know that USAF aviators are being trained for the future which is to be autonomously controlled air planes.