Boeing delivered the first T-7A Red Hawk supersonic trainer jet to the US Air Force (USAF) on September 14.
The aircraft is one of five belonging to an initial batch that will be used in the engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) program, along with two T-7s that belong to Boeing and have already accumulated more than 500 flights.
The T-7 is the replacement for the old Nortorop T-38 Talon, a jet that has been in service since the 1960s. The development of the aircraft was carried out using digital tools for the first time and has the participation of Saab.
According to the USAF, EMD testing is expected to begin in the coming days, first in St. Louis and then at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
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“I continue to be amazed by this team,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s T-7 program manager. “There has been a lot of effort over the last couple of months to get through first flight and now aircraft acceptance. We are excited to get these EMD aircraft into flight testing.”
“The Red Hawk Integrated Test Team is ready and looking forward to begin EMD Test and Evaluation,” added Dr. Troy C. Hoeger, AFLCMC’s T-7A chief developmental tester.
Boeing won the competition to supply the US Air Force’s new advanced trainer jet in September 2018 and is expected to deliver at least 351 aircraft in addition to ground training systems.
The delivery of the first T-7As to the USAF was delayed due to problems with the aircraft’s ejection seat, which was designed to work with different pilot profiles, in a move by the Pentagon to allow more people to serve in the military.