Boeing’s T-7 Red Hawk was chosen by the US Air Force to be the winner of the T-X program, becoming a replacement for the T-38 Talon.

The supersonic T-7 Red Hawk produced by Boeing will become the main training aircraft of the US Air Force. After nearly half a century of training in the US Air Force, the T-38 Talons will eventually be retired, replaced by the T-7 Reb Hawk training aircraft. According to Boeing, the T-7 Red Hawk will be the new advanced pilot training system for the US Air Force, which will train the next generation of pilots for decades to come.

T-7 Red Hawk is the winner of the T-X competition

Northrop T-38 Talon was the first supersonic trainer in the world that has been active since the 1960s. Although still doing well, since the 2000s, the US Air Force has realized they need to have a new trainer to meet the demands of the new generation of fighters, which is far more complex than previous generations of aircraft.

In 2003, the T-X program has been established, a competition for the United States Air Force to buy a new two-seat jet trainer. A series of competitors participated in the competition, including famous names such as Leonardo with the M-346-based T-100, Korea Aerospace Industries with the T-50 Golden Eagle, Boeing and Saab Group with T-X, and Sierra Nevada Corporation and Turkish Aerospace Industries with a new design.

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In September 2018, T-X was chosen as the winner, the new trainer is now renamed T-7 Red Hawk. as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, who painted their airplanes’ tails red, and to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, one of the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. About 350 aircraft are expected to be ordered to replace the T-38, but further purchases could push the overall purchase to over 1,000.

T-X Becomes T-7A Red Hawk

T-7 Red Hawk is a product of cooperation between Boeing and Saab. The first images of the new generation training aircraft were released in August 2016. A single-engine aircraft with twin tails and a pair of high-mounted main wings. Like other training aircraft, Red Hawk is designed with parallel seats under a glass canopy. The student will sit in the front while the instructor behind with great views on all sides. The overall design of the T-7 exudes a perfect aerodynamic look. The slender nose at the front of the narrow fuselage, the air intakes are below the main wings, the retractable tricycle landing gear.

T-7 Red Hawk, originally known as the Boeing T-X
T-7 Red Hawk, originally known as the Boeing T-X

Red Hawk is powered by a General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine, providing 79 kiloNewtons thrust with afterburner. The training aircraft can reach a maximum speed of 1,300km/h, equivalent to supersonic speed, fast enough to train but does not make the student pilot unconscious due to g-force. The aircraft has a range of 1,839km, a service ceiling of 15,240m along with a rate of climb of 170m/s.

T-7 Red Hawk will become the new future trainer of the US Air Force
T-7 Red Hawk will become the new future trainer of the US Air Force

Currently, only two T-7 training aircraft have been created for demonstration and test flights. It is expected that by the year 2023, the first Red Hawk will be handed over to the US Air Force, preparing for the replacement phase of T-38 Talon training aircraft. Last year, the service awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to build its next aircraft for training pilots. The service has committed to buying 351 T-7A jets, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment.


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