ST. LOUIS (AFNS) —
The first one T-7A Red Falcon trainer aircraft rolled off the production line at the Boeing Defense, Space & Security building at Lambert International Airport.
It is the first of 351 aircraft to be delivered to the Air Force under a $9.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing in September 2018.
“Today, we honor the heroes of our past, while looking to our future as an Air Force at an incredible rate of change, innovation and progress,” said Lieutenant General Richard Clarksuperintendent of the US Air Force Academy.
The production aircraft features the iconic “Red Tail” symbol of the famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The name Red Hawk is derived from Curtiss P-40 Warhawkone of the aircraft flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, the United States Air Force’s first African-American fighter squadron.
Attending the ceremony was retired Lt. Col. George Hardy, an Airman from Tuskegee, with Yvonne and Ron McGee, children of the late Brig. General Charles McGee.
“With this deployment, we honor our history and the heroes who wrote the chapters,” Clark said, “and we usher in an exciting new era of aviation and a new generation of heroes who will write the chapters to come.”
The aircraft, along with simulators and associated ground equipment, will replace Air Education and Training Commandaging fleet of Heel T-38C airplane.
“Quality has always been and remains Air Education and Training Command’s top priority,” Lieutenant General Brad Webb, commander of the AETC, said. “The T-7A aircraft and accompanying ground systems will help us fulfill the Air Force mission and prepare aircrews to combat future threats. Putting the T-7A in the hands of our instructors, students and maintainers is important to our pilot training transformation initiatives to ensure that the most qualified pilots are ready for future conflicts.
The Red Hawk, a joint effort between Boeing and Saab, is the first Air Force plane to use digital design tools to take it from computer screen to first flight in 36 months.
“The T-7 was designed using model-based systems engineering and 3D tools,” said Colonel Kirt Cassell, T-7 program manager. “This allowed for faster assembly and improved quality to provide a safe and efficient training system for Air Education and Training Command.”
Going forward, the aircraft will carry out a series of ground checks and taxi tests before making its first flights in the coming weeks. Later this year it will fly to Edwards AFBCalifornia to begin flight testing.
“The T-38 is a true workhorse training Air Force fighter and bomber pilots for Air Education and Training Command, but the T-7 Red Hawk is a game changer, providing mission systems advanced features, a glass touchscreen cockpit, stadium seating and integrated training capability,” Cassell said.