Skip to content Go to main navigation Go to language selector
The T-7A Red Hawk is an all-new aircraft designed by Saab and Boeing specifically for the U.S. Air Force training mission. It consists of the aircraft, a ground-based training system and a support solution.

T-7A Red Hawk: didn’t just combine two cultures, it created an entirely new one

6 min read

The T-7A Red Hawk is a giant leap forward in advanced pilot training for the U.S. Air Force. The T-7A aircraft represents a bold undertaking in innovative design. Saab and Boeing have jointly designed and developed an all-new aircraft that represents a new norm in how to design and build next generation aircraft.

T-7A represents a remarkable engineering achievement and through digital engineering and advanced manufacturing it is a complete revolution in the way trainer aircraft are developed. The Saab and Boeing collaboration is the major factor in this success, with the teams engineers able to work across global time zones.

“In the collaboration with Boeing, we didn’t just combine cultures; we created an entirely new one. T-7A was the start of a completely new way of working and our teaming with Boeing has been the catalyst for a truly remarkable trainer aircraft,” said Lars Sjöberg, Head of Business Unit T-7, Saab.

Lars Sjöberg, Head of T-7A at Saab in the production facility in Linköping, Sweden. T-7A Red Hawk is the new Advanced trainer aircraft built together with Boeing for The United States, U.S. Air Force.
"T-7A was the start of a completely new way of working and our teaming with Boeing has been the catalyst for a truly remarkable trainer aircraft."
Lars Sjöberg, Head of Business Unit T-7, Saab

T-7A strengthens the readiness of the pilot

The T-7A is the most advanced trainer aircraft in the world because of the technologies that went into it. Through production simulation and the digital supply chain, the T-7A was purpose-built to reduce costs, safely accelerate the delivery timeline, and ensure resource efficiency, all without compromising performance.

"When U.S. Air Force pilots begin training in the T-7A,it strengthens the readiness of pilots and marks a shift in the industry standard for aircraft production."

Saab and Boeing have proven that through a relentless focus on efficiency in both production and maintenance, it is possible to improve reliability to reduce maintenance for T7-A. What this means for the customer is greater availability of the aircraft, and more time in the air for the pilot. By allowing the pilots are able to train as much as possible, both on the ground and in the air, the T-7A Red Hawk will allow them to master the fundamentals and become better pilots and more accomplished aviators for future missions.

“When U.S. Air Force pilots begin training in the T-7A, the aircraft becomes so much more than a collection of parts—it strengthens the readiness of pilots and marks a shift in the industry standard for aircraft production,” said Lars.

T-7A Red Hawk Advanced Trainer developed by Boeing and Saab and chosen in the T-X program by the United States Air Force, USAF.

Digital design is key in the partnership behind T-7A

Digital design was key to increasing the speed of T-7A development and evolving the overall accuracy, visibility, and communication required throughout production.

"The digital design approach gives a level of control and precision that is going to become the benchmark of the industry."

The digital design allows the engineers to develop the aircraft quickly and without the need for it to ever leave a computer. The digital design can be shared with all the different types of engineers who work to produce an aircraft. The ability to share it amongst different teams aids problem solving and ensures that all the considerations beyond just the performance in the air, such as how to efficiently make the aircraft or maintain it, are seamlessly integrated into the design. This means the benefits are felt long after the plane has left the design stage to production and into service.

“When you have the expertise to design this way, you can actually create a revolutionary production method for development of a reliable aircraft that is delivered at scale and on budget. The digital design approach gives a level of control and precision that is going to become the benchmark of the industry,” said Lars.


The story behind the single engine configuration

Saab has 60+ years’ experience of development of aircraft including single engine fighters. When teaming with Boeing on the Red Hawk, we were able to bring our agile and innovative ethos to the T-7A’s flight plan which enabled this revolutionary trainer to go from design to first flight in just 36 months.

“When our teaming with Boeing began, we were both interested in building a highly manoeuvrable aircraft that could meet the exacting needs of the USAF. We wanted to achieve that same level of manoeuvrability – with a single-engine aft configuration. It’s the structural foundation for an airframe that’s small, agile and inherently stable and so the single engine is central to the T-7A design. It is designed for pilot training well into the future,” said Lars.

Tomas Karlsson, Business Developer T-7, Saab presenting T-7A Red Hawk, the new Advanced trainer aircraft built together with Boeing for The United States, U.S. Air Force.
“We’ve brought every ounce of our aircraft heritage and all our aeronautics know-how to the T-7."
Tomas Karlsson, Business Developer T-7, Saab

Bringing every ounce of Saab’s heritage into T-7A

Saab’s knowledge and competence has strengthened the entire process from clean sheet design to production. More than 1000 Saab employees have been involved in the work.

"From the beginning Saab took three giant steps in one leap"
Tomas Karlsson, Business Developer T-7, Saab.

“We’ve brought every ounce of our aircraft heritage and all our aeronautics know-how to the T-7. But it’s the way that we’ve applied it that makes the T-7 so special,” explained Tomas Karlsson, Business Developer T-7, Saab.

Saab has gained many new insights with respect to international program management through this huge collaborative project with Boeing.

"From the beginning Saab took three giant steps in one leap: joining a unique team with Boeing, developing a clean-sheet state-of-the-art product, and re-entering a sector with a new end user, the U.S. Air Force,” said Tomas.

“I continue to be amazed by the work of our people at Saab and on the T-7A program. We not only do our job but we are also expected and trusted to find ways to improve processes and products. By redefining engineering and industry boundaries, we continue to find opportunities for improvement and innovation. This is testament to the feeling of responsibility we share for T-7A development and production of the aft fuselage section for the U.S. Air Force,” concluded Lars.

Assembly personnel at Saab in the production facility in Linköping, Sweden, building the aft fuselage section for T-7A Red Hawk is the new Advanced trainer aircraft built together with Boeing for The United States, U.S. Air Force.
Saab working on the aft section in production at Linköping for T-7A Red Hawk.
Assembly personnel at Saab in the production facility in Linköping, Sweden, building the aft fuselage section for T-7A Red Hawk is the new Advanced trainer aircraft built together with Boeing for The United States, U.S. Air Force.

Deliveries to Boeing where the first T-7A test aircraft will be built

The program is currently in the EMD phase (Engineering and Manufacturing Development), before it will move to the series production of the T-7A aircraft in 2022. The EMD phase includes engineering, verification and validation activities, test aircraft build, flight test support and preparation for series production.

Saab is responsible for the development and production of the fully installed aft section for T-7A. The seven afts produced at Saab in Linköping will be part of the EMD test aircraft, while the afts produced in West Lafayette, Indiana are for the production series aircraft, which will be used for pilot training by the U.S. Air Force.

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.
The seven afts produced at Saab in Linköping will be part of the EMD test aircraft.
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 T-7A Red Hawk.
Saab series aircraft production will be transferred to the new, state-of-the-art production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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.

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

May. 05, 2022

APT5, the fifth and last fully installed aft fuselage in the EMD phase was delivered from Linköping, Sweden to St. Louis, USA.

Apr. 28, 2022

The first out of five aircraft in the EMD phase was rolled out during a ceremony in Boeing's facilities in St. Louis

Apr. 15, 2021

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

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.

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.

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.

Nov. 4, 2021

Saab shipped the Fatigue Test Article (FTA) airframe to Boeing for use in the fatigue tests.

Jan. 10, 2020

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

Dec. 6, 2020

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

May. 8, 2019

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

Sep. 16, 2019

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

Oct. 24, 2019

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

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

Apr. 24, 2017

Second T-X Aircraft Takes Flight

Apr. 27, 2017

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

Sep. 18, 2017

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

Sep. 13, 2016

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

Dec. 20, 2016

T-X Completes First Flight

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