Boeing eyes on T-7A exports to Asia-Pacific markets

Boeing-Saab T-7A Advanced Fighter Jet Trainer and Light Combat Aircraft

Boeing has announced an intention to export the T-7A Red Hawk to countries in the Asia-Pacific region for military trainer and light combat aircraft requirements across the Asia-Pacific region. The US company will share marketing responsibilities with its T-7A production partner Saab, the company announced at the Singapore Airshow on 12 February.

Read More Saab starts production of T-7A Fighter Trainer

Thomas Breckenridge, vice-president of international sales in Boeing’s strike, surveillance and mobility business unit, told journalists that the company sees opportunities for global sales of up to 2,600 T-7As.

The US Air Force is contracted to procure 351 of these aircraft under a USD9.2 billion contract announced in September 2018. Boeing has plans to build up to 48 T-7As per year for the USAF and offer customized variant of T-7A to Asia-Pacific countries. Breckenridge also indicated that Asia-Pacific countries could also emerge as principal operators of the T-7A as the low cost fighter trainer and light combat aircraft.

Read More The Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk: An Advanced Fighter Jet Trainer and LCA

Breckenridge did not provide a breakdown of expected future customers in the Asia-Pacific, although he has previously confirmed that Boeing has held talks with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Singaporean Air Force and other regional operators about potential programmes to supply the T-7A. Speaking in 2019 he said Boeing’s discussions with the RAAF were aimed at supporting the company’s understanding of the service’s future pilot trainer requirements.

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The T-7A can be easily modified to allow a range of radar, sensors and weapons. The T-7A supports an open mission system shared by simulator and aircraft; and the aircraft’s design, which is intended to meet future combat mission requirements.

The combat variants of T-7A can use similar weapons like the Boeing Super Hornet. The T-7A can engage enemy with the AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range air-to-air missile, the AIM-9X Sidewinder dogfight missile, small diameter bomb (SDB) and the all-weather, GPS-aided Joint Direct Attack Munition, a “smart bomb” that comes in 1000-lb (GBU-32) and 500-lb (GBU-38) variants.

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