The T-7A Red Hawk advanced military training jet has officially entered the production line, according to an announcement from Boeing on Tuesday. The aircraft, originally called the T-X, was designed entirely using the company’s 3D model-based definition and data management systems.
The T-7A advanced fighter jet trainer is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s 60-year-old T-38 fleet and it has been reported that the Navy is also interested in the T-7A as a replacement for its T-45 trainers.
“This is a historic moment for the program and industry,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president of T-7 programs. “The build process leverages full-size determinant assembly, which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality.”
The T-7A, which Boeing developed in partnership with Saab, flew for the first time in 2016. As previously reported by GDC, Boeing was awarded a $9.2 billion contract for 351 new combat training jets and 46 simulators in July 2018. T-7A simulator production began last December.
The jet also incorporates advanced ground-based live and virtual simulators. These simulators will give students and instructors a real-life training experience.
Boeing strike, surveillance and mobility senior vice-president Shelley Lavender said: “The future of air dominance lies in the ability to move quickly, take smart risks and partner in new ways to get the job done.
“By creating aircraft and systems along a digital thread, we can accelerate build times and increase quality and affordability for our customers in a way that has never been done before.”
In September 2018, the USAF awarded Boeing a $9.2bn contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 ground-based training simulators associated with the aircraft.
Saab is teamed with Boeing on the trainer and provides the aft fuselage of the jet.
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