The T-7A Red Hawk advanced military training jet has officially entered the production line, according to an announcement from Boeing on Tuesday. The aircraft, originally called the T-X, was designed entirely using the company’s 3D model-based definition and data management systems. It is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s 60-year-old T-38 fleet and it has been reported that the Navy is also interested in the T-7A as a replacement for its T-45 trainers.
“This is a historic moment for the program and industry,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president of T-7 programs. “The build process leverages full-size determinant assembly, which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality.”
The T-7A, which Boeing developed in partnership with Saab, flew for the first time in 2016. As previously reported by AVweb, Boeing was awarded a $9.2 billion contract for 351 new combat training jets and 46 simulators in July 2018. T-7A simulator production began last December.