First Red Hawk Fuselage Joined In Record Time


Boeing announced on Thursday that it successfully joined the front and aft fuselage sections of its first T-7A Red Hawk advanced military trainer in less than 30 minutes. The trainer was developed by Boeing and Saab using 3D model-based definition and data management systems with the aft fuselage being built at Saab’s facility in Linköping, Sweden, and shipped to Boeing in St. Louis for assembly. According to Boeing, the digital splice was accomplished in 95 percent less time than traditional splices.

“What we’re seeing in this new evolution of digitally designed, engineered and manufactured aircraft is a 50% improvement in overall production quality and as much as a 98% reduction in drilling defects,” said Boeing T-7A Red Hawk production director Andrew Stark. “It’s a new way of producing airplanes with improved quality throughout the whole journey.”

The T-7A is expected to serve as replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s 60-year-old T-38 fleet. Boeing was awarded a $9.2 billion contract for 351 new combat training jets and 46 simulators in July 2018. As previously reported by AVweb, the Red Hawk officially entered the production line last February.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. How can they know or state all these glowing comments about the process after just one example?