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Saab-Boeing, new advanced trainer T-7A Red Hawk

Seven years of hard work and team spirit within the T-7A collaboration - followed by first delivery to Boeing

4 min read

In December 2013 Boeing and Saab AB signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to jointly develop and build a new advanced, cost-efficient T-X Family of Systems training solution for the upcoming competition to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging T-38C Talon aircrew training system. The JDA, with Boeing and Saab AB as teammates, covers areas including design, development, production, support, sales and marketing. In 2021, the first aft section was delivered from Saab's facility to Boeing in St. Louis.  

 

The T-7A went from concept to first flight in three years as a result of a “breaking the norm” paradigm that includes a modular design of the aircraft developed specifically for highly immersive training with downloading capabilities and advanced fighter-like performance.

Quick development

Within a very short time, the impressive collaboration managed to develop and build a new pilot training system in time for the selection by the US Air Force. Already in 2016, Boeing and Saab presented the two first Production Representative Jet (PRJ) aircraft. Two years later, the U.S. Air Force selects Boeing and Saab T-X Trainer and placed an order for 351 aircraft.

In 2019, the U.S. Air Force announced its name for the new T-X advanced pilot training system: the T-7A Red Hawk.

Milestones within T-X and T-7A Red Hawk

Oct. 13, 2021

Saab announced the grand opening of its new facility located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It will start by being the site for production of Saab’s aft airframe section for the T-7A Red Hawk trainer program.

Sep. 10, 2021

Saab has shipped its third aft airframe section for use in the T-7A Red Hawk flight test program for the United States Air Force.

Jul. 24, 2021

Saab has shipped its second aft airframe section for use in the T-7A Red Hawk flight test program for the United States Air Force.

Apr. 15, 2021

Saab delivers it first EMD static aft airframe section to be used for ground testing during the EMD-phase

Dec. 6, 2020

Saab moves the first production unit from the assembly into final installation

Jan. 10, 2020

Saab started assembly production of its section of the T-7A aircraft

Oct. 24, 2019

T-7A Awarded Aviation Week’s “Game Changer Award”

Sep. 16, 2019

U.S. Air Force announces the official service name of the aircraft as the T-7A Red Hawk

May. 8, 2019

Saab announces a new site for advanced manufacturing and production in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

Oct. 18, 2018

Saab Receives Order from Boeing for the Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft T-X

Sep. 27, 2018

U.S. Air Force Selects Saab and Boeing T-X Trainer

Sep. 18, 2017

Saab Offers U.S. Based Production Capability for T-X Trainer Aircraft

Apr. 27, 2017

Both T-X aircraft take to the skies, together in flight

Apr. 24, 2017

Second T-X Aircraft Takes Flight

Dec. 20, 2016

T-X Completes First Flight

Sep. 13, 2016

Boeing and Saab Reveals First Two PRJ Aircraft for U.S Air Force T-X Competition

Dec. 5, 2013

Boeing and Saab Sign Joint Development Agreement on T-X Family of Systems Training Competition

Saab-Boeing, new advanced trainer T-7A Red Hawk

The start of production and installation

On October 18, 2018 Saab was contracted by Boeing to initiate the Saab portion of the jet and in January 2020, Saab started assembly production of its section of the T-7A aircraft. Later this year, the first production unit has successfully gone through all the assembly steps, both from a design perspective and from a build perspective. The aft structure has now entered the final assembly, ready for the installation phase where the wiring and subsystems are installed.

Saab Delivers to Boeing

In 2021, Saab reached yet another important milestone in the T-7A programme as part of the EMD phase when Saab delivered its first aft airframe sections to Boeing. The first delivery was made on April 15, and was of a static fuselage aft. As the name indicates, upon arrival at Boeing in St. Louis, the static aft section to the forward fuselage, prior to installation of the wings, fins and tail assembly to become a complete static test airframe. This airframe will be used for carrying out tests on the ground. 

Throughout the year Saab continued to deliver aft fusulage sections to Boeing to splice the front part. Saab’s aft section was joined perfectly with the front fuselage in less than 30 minutes. That achievement is a testament to the use of digital design and engineering, which delivers accuracy, efficiency and improved quality throughout the design and delivery of T-7A Red Hawk.

The T-7A Red Hawk aft section being moved in Saab's facility in Linköping.
The aft structure has now entered the final assembly phase.

After the Engineering & Manufacturing Development phase for the T-7A aft section in Linkoping, Saab production will be transferred to the new, state-of-the-art Saab Aeronautics Indiana production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, to ensure U.S.-based production of the U.S. Air Force’s new trainer. 

In October 2021 Saab held the grand opening of the new facility. This purpose-built facility represents a major step in both Saab’s global expansion strategy and growth and investment in the U.S. It has been completed on-time and on-budget and will start by being the site for domestic production of Saab’s aft airframe section for the T-7A Red Hawk trainer program. It will also support research and development in autonomy, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing.

Saab production and manufacturing facility in Linköping, Sweden, building the aft fuselage section for T-7A during the EMD-phase of the program. T-7A Red Hawk is the new Advanced trainer aircraft built together with Boeing for The United States, U.S. Air Force. Here the aft is being moved to final assembly.
Saab is responsible for the development and production of the fully installed aft fuselage section. Here the aft section is moved into final assembly before being transported to Boeing.
Saab is responsible for the development and production of the fully installed aft fuselage section for T-7A Red Hawk. That includes the rear section of the aircraft, from where the canopy ends to the tail cone, together with the associated subsystems. Wings, fins and rudders excluded.
Saab responsibility includes the rear section of the aircraft, from where the canopy ends to the tail cone, together with the associated subsystems. Wings, fins and rudders excluded.

The T-7A Red Hawk is an all-new aircraft designed specifically for the U.S. Air Force training mission. It consists of the aircraft, a ground-based training system and a support solution. The T-7A aircraft has one engine, twin tails, stadium seating and an advanced cockpit with embedded training functionality. The system also offers a maintenance-friendly design for long-term supportability.

Saab is responsible for the development and production of the fully installed aft fuselage section. That includes the rear section of the aircraft, from where the canopy ends to the tail cone, together with the associated subsystems. Wings, fins and rudders excluded.

Milestones within T-X and T-7A Red Hawk

Oct. 13, 2021

Saab announced the grand opening of its new facility located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It will start by being the site for production of Saab’s aft airframe section for the T-7A Red Hawk trainer program.

Sep. 10, 2021

Saab has shipped its third aft airframe section for use in the T-7A Red Hawk flight test program for the United States Air Force.

Jul. 24, 2021

Saab has shipped its second aft airframe section for use in the T-7A Red Hawk flight test program for the United States Air Force.

Apr. 15, 2021

Saab delivers it first EMD static aft airframe section to be used for ground testing during the EMD-phase

Dec. 6, 2020

Saab moves the first production unit from the assembly into final installation

Jan. 10, 2020

Saab started assembly production of its section of the T-7A aircraft

Oct. 24, 2019

T-7A Awarded Aviation Week’s “Game Changer Award”

Sep. 16, 2019

U.S. Air Force announces the official service name of the aircraft as the T-7A Red Hawk

May. 8, 2019

Saab announces a new site for advanced manufacturing and production in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

Oct. 18, 2018

Saab Receives Order from Boeing for the Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft T-X

Sep. 27, 2018

U.S. Air Force Selects Saab and Boeing T-X Trainer

Sep. 18, 2017

Saab Offers U.S. Based Production Capability for T-X Trainer Aircraft

Apr. 27, 2017

Both T-X aircraft take to the skies, together in flight

Apr. 24, 2017

Second T-X Aircraft Takes Flight

Dec. 20, 2016

T-X Completes First Flight

Sep. 13, 2016

Boeing and Saab Reveals First Two PRJ Aircraft for U.S Air Force T-X Competition

Dec. 5, 2013

Boeing and Saab Sign Joint Development Agreement on T-X Family of Systems Training Competition

t-7a-red-hawk-new-livery-take-off_flag_web_extended.jpg

Did you know?

It took 3 years from a white paper to first flight.

  • U.S. Air Force will train more than 1000 fighter and bomber pilots per year in T-7A.
  • T-7A is planned to be in operation in U.S. Air Force 2024.
  • Around 350 T-7A Red Hawk aircraft will be delivered to U.S. Air Force.
350
Ordered