USAF Receives First Five T-7A Red Hawks for Test Flights
T-7A Red Hawks are stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California and are part of the USAF's Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) program.
The T-7A is claimed to be the most advanced training aircraft in its class to replace approximately 400 USAF Northrop T-38 Talon supersonic jet trainers, which have been training aircraft for more than 60 years.
Working with Sweden's Saab, Boeing was awarded a $9.2 billion contract in 2018 to produce the T-7A Red Hawk.
The initial low-level production (LRP) will only be carried out in February 2025. This means this trainer jet can only be produced 6.5 years after Boeing won the initial contract to supply the T-7A in 2018.
USAF states that the delay in the production schedule was related to aircraft safety that had not been completed. One of them is related to the problem of the ejection seat.
USAF added that the first aircraft of the new production series could be delivered to the USAF as early as December 2025.
This production delay will also delay the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) schedule, initially scheduled for 2024. Most likely, the new IOC can be achieved in 2026.
Another impact is that the USAF must invest to extend the service life of the T-38 Talon trainer jet, which has been used for 60 years.
As a result of these problems, the use of the T-38 had to be extended. The USAF also had to fund structural modifications to the T-38 in the Pacer Classic III program and improved avionics. USAF is disbursing 125.3 million US dollars for Fiscal Year 2024 in this regard.
As is known, the USAF has chosen the T-7A Red Hawk as an advanced training jet to replace the T-38. 351 T-7A units will be acquired, including 46 simulator units.