|T-7 Red Hawk advanced trainer jets.|
According to a previous statement of the senior director of the T-X program, Boeing sees a potential market for up to 2,700 T-7 Red Hawk advanced trainer jets. He said that 475 aircraft will be supplied to the USAF and this number does not include the replacement of the T-38s used in the Aggressor and companion trainer roles. In addition the company expects to sell many aircraft even outside the United States as it claims that there is no other similar aircraft at such a low cost.
Boeing plans to built up to 46 jets a year for USAF, but the rate can increase to 60 if needed, as in the case of foreign sales.
Depending on the requesting country, the deal will be managed by Boeing or Saab, the idea is to assign relations with Gripen customers to the Swedish company. Boeing and its partner Saab are working together to produce 475 jets and 120 ground-based training systems under a 16-year, $9.2B contract with the USAF.
The first T-7s will be delivered to Randolph AFB, Texas, in 2023 and the achievement of the IOC is planned for 2014.
The Air Force is also considering expanding its fleet of light fighters and the T-7 is the first candidate. Boeing is already looking at light attack and aggressor training opportunities for the aircraft and it says it has already identified locations for hardpoints under the wings.
In the meantime, the T-7 tests proceed quickly. Recently the aircraft successfully completed high speed low altitude testing.
“Our test aircraft successfully completed high speed low altitude testing, reaching 560 mph/901 kph at just 150 feet/45.7 meters off the ground,” Boeing Defense Space and Security reported on 15 October.
Written by Matteo Sanzani