Boeing T-7A Red Hawk supersonic training jet could follow the same path as its predecessor, the T-38 Talon, and gain an armed variant.
The hypothesis was raised by a US Air Force (USAF) oficial who spoke to Breaking Defense anonymously.
According to the outlet, a Request for Information (RFI) should be launched soon to evaluate the development of what would be the “F-7”, a light fighter that would serve as a replacement for the older F-16s still in service.
The T-7A was designed by Boeing and Saab as an open architecture aircraft, capable of being easily upgraded or having its mission scope changed.
The jet is equipped with a GE F404 engine, a very reliable turbofan widely used in several fighter jets. The Air Force has just received the first T-7A in a batch of five Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) aircraft, a stage prior to full-scale production.
The development of armed versions, usually for one pilot, of training jets is a common practice in the industry and it would be no different with the T-7A.
With lower costs and good weapons capacity, aircraft like this can be an alternative for countries without many financial resources.
The T-38 Talon itself gave rise to one of the most formidable light fighters ever manufactured, the F-5 Tiger II, which Northrop produced and sold to several nations and which is still active in several air forces.