The U.S. Air Force’s new T-X trainer has officially been named the T-7A Red Hawk in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen “Red Tails,” the first black aviators to serve in the U.S. military. The announcement was made at the 2019 Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on Monday. Col. Charles McGee, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 400 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, was on stage for the presentation.
“The name Red Hawk honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan. “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.”
The Air Force awarded a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A aircraft, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment to Boeing in September 2018. According to the Air Force, the Red Hawks will be replacing Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old T-38C Talons. The first T-7As are scheduled to be delivered to Texas’ Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in 2023.