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USAF launches T-7A EMD flight-testing

Boeing and the US Air Force undertook the inaugural flight of the service's first T-7A Red Hawk on 28 June, marking the start of the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the programme. (Boeing)

The US Air Force (USAF) has commenced engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) testing of the Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft, with the first flight announced on 28 June.

The first EMD flight saw a USAF pilot from the 416th Flight Test Squadron and a Boeing test pilot depart the manufacturer's St Louis facility in Missouri on the same day as the announcement. This first EMD flight of one of the T-7A prototype aircraft lasted 1 hour and 3 minutes.

Developed in partnership with Saab, the Red Hawk was selected under the T-X Advanced Pilot Training programme to replace the USAF's Northrop T-38 Talon that has been in service since the 1960s. Boeing is under contract to deliver 351 new Red Hawk aircraft, as well as 46 simulators and associated ground equipment, to the USAF. Boeing is also offering the T-7A to the USAF for its Advanced Tactical Trainer requirement for about 100 aircraft and to the US Navy for its Tactical Surrogate Aircraft requirement for 64 aircraft and its Undergraduate Jet Training System requirement for an undetermined number of aircraft.

Including the current USAF order, Boeing and Saab envision a USD40 billion global market of up to 2,600 Red Hawk aircraft during the coming years.

The T-7A is scheduled to enter production in 2025.

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