Boeing begins production of T-7A Red Hawk

Boeing begins production T7A
Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer jet.

On February 19, Boeing announced that they have begun production of the new T-7A Red Hawk trainer aircraft (official video here). The company sees this step as the beginning of a new era in aircraft design and assembly thanks to the advanced process they have adopted to develop and manufacture the jet.

According to Boeing, the aircraft was fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems developed by them over the past two decades. The T-7A Red Hawk has employed the digital engineering and design of the Boeing T-X aircraft that went from firm concept to first flight in just 36 months for the U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training competition.

“The future of air dominance lies in the ability to move quickly, take smart risks and partner in new ways to get the job done,” said Shelley Lavender, senior vice president, Strike, Surveillance and Mobility. “By creating aircraft and systems along a digital thread, we can accelerate build times and increase quality and affordability for our customers in a way that has never been done before.”

In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 associated ground-based training simulators. Saab is teamed with Boeing on the trainer and provides the aft fuselage of the jet.

The advanced trainer is replacing the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 and will provide future fighter and bomber pilots with fundamental and tactical training for 5th generation aircraft. Two production relevant aircraft are already in flight test and are about to move into the second phase of flight performance and envelope expansion later this year.

“This is a historic moment for the program and industry,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president, T-7 programs. “The build process leverages full size determinant assembly which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality.”

Source, Image, Video: Boeing

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