The T-7A Red Hawk, the next-generation advanced trainer for the U.S. Air Force, reached a significant milestone as the first production representative jet, APT-2, completed a 1,400-mile cross-country flight to Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Piloted by a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew, the aircraft made strategic stops at Air Force bases in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona for refueling and to showcase the cutting-edge trainer to base employees.
Evelyn Moore, Vice President and Program Manager for T-7 programs, emphasized the importance of this moment, stating, “This is a pivotal moment for the T-7 program. Bringing the T-7A Red Hawk to the heart of the U.S. Air Force’s test community at Edwards for dynamic flight testing will prove the jet’s performance as an agile and safe trainer for future pilots.”
Boeing delivered the first Red Hawk to the Air Force on September 15, marking the commencement of the next phase of flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base. Air Force test pilots will gradually expand the flight envelope, beginning with flutter testing, once they become familiar with the aircraft.
Col. Kirt Cassell, Division Chief, U.S. Air Force, T-7A Red Hawk program, expressed confidence in the team’s ability to overcome any challenges that may arise during testing. He stated, “Like most test programs, we’ll have discovery and we’ll overcome it quickly. This is the right team to go after any challenges we find.”
In 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators, and support, aiming to replace the aging T-38 aircraft.