T-7A Red Hawk Completes Taxi Tests


Boeing announced on Tuesday that the T-7A Red Hawk military training jet has successfully completed taxi testing. While the model flew for the first time in 2016 as the T-X, further flight testing is expected to take place at Boeing’s facility in St. Louis later this summer then at Edwards Air Force Base this fall. Boeing noted that it has flown two production-representative jets on “up to six sorties a day recording more than 7,000 data and test points” since it was awarded the $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A’s by the U.S. Air Force in 2018.

“The flight controls and commands to the fly-by-wire system were crisp and the aircraft maneuvered exceptionally well,” said Boeing T-7 chief test pilot Steve Schmidt. “Everything operated as designed and expected.”

Developed as part of a partnership between Boeing and Saab, the T-7A Red Hawk was digitally designed using Boeing’s 3D model-based definition and data management systems. Production of the Red Hawk officially began in February 2021 with the first unit rolling off the line in April 2022. The model is intended to replace the Air Force’s fleet of aging T-38 trainers.

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. The first unit rolling off the line in April 2022 and now — 14 months later — they’re doing taxi testing?? Hey, guys, hurry up … the war will be over before you get these things into the hands of the customer! Geesh. Oh well, they’re probably trying to figure out how to make the KC-46A work right?

  2. December 1962: Lockheed signs contract to build six SR-71 aircraft
    October 1964: SR-71 prototype (#61-7950) delivered to Palmdale
    March 1968: First SR-71 (#61-7976) operational mission flown from Kadena AB over Vietnam

    Depending how measured… SR-71 was 5 1/2 years from contract to first operational mission.

  3. Sorry but this thing looks like a “parts bin” special. And what would be wrong with just producing new TA-4J’s? Great advanced trainer that looks like a proper jet aircraft.

    • A guess you have no idea what it would take rebuild and reopen a aircraft production plant that closed in 1979

  4. The delays seem frustrating, and they are, but I wouldn’t be too quick to place the blame on Boeing and SAAB. As a retired Defense Acquisition officer, I would look at the acquisition and contracting system, which is largely driven by statutory requirements.

    • Well … I worked for an aerospace company who turned an abandoned auto plant into a huge classified facility and cranked out a massively large airplane in the same period while managing a large number of co and sub vendors. And they used the very same “acquisition” system. Here, a once proud company — Boeing — has now fallen on its proverbial sword … on many programs. Oh well … maybe in two years they’ll fly it ?

  5. To everyone who thinks it should be a simple matter to take some off-the-shelf aircraft designs and technologies and produce a new supersonic trainer, I offer the following: In 2020, the Air Force mandated that companies must design future aircraft to fit a wider range of recruitable Americans, rather than past standards based on a 1967 survey of male pilots that considered their standing and sitting heights and reach. The 2020 requirement is to safely eject persons weighing between 103 lbs to 245 lbs, with varying cgs, from zero altitude to 40,000+ feet and zero airspeed to 600 knots IAS. A friend of mine ejected from an F-4 at 500+ knots, and broke all the major bones in both arms and both legs. He took years to recover, but he lived. This seat is required to handle that situation without injury. There are many stories of aircrew who suffered spinal damage from ejection seats and even from ejection seat trainers. The seat is only one of the requirements that previous trainer aircraft have not had to deal with. As long as unobtanium remains one of the services’ requirements, we can expect “once proud” aerospace companies to experience development and testing delays.