Boeing has started production of its US Air Force (USAF) T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer at its St Louis, Missouri, facility, and has developed roughly 90% of a static test article’s forward fuselage.
Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and T-7A programme manager, said on 23 February that Boeing has been working on this static test article forward fuselage since last month. The static test article will be completely assembled once Boeing unites the forward fuselage to the aft fuselage, which should happen in a couple of months, he added.
Boeing’s roughly 90% assembled static test article forward fuselage for its T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer at its St Louis, Missouri, factory. (Boeing)
Saab, which is developing the T-7A with Boeing, has completed the structure build and working instrumentation, Dabundo said. Triumph Aerospace Structures is working in parallel with Boeing and is building the wings and the horizontal and vertical tails.
Static test articles are used generally on development programmes with newly designed structures. Once complete, Boeing will put the static test article into a test fixture where it will impart flight representative loads on the structure, which is instrumented to measure loads.
Dabundo said while the static test article will have a significant amount of instrumentation to measure those loads for comparison against design models, the complete static test article will not have systems or hydraulic tubing, which is because they are not required for the type of testing the company is performing.