In mid-September of 2016, The Boeing Company - in partnership with Sweden's Saab - revealed their challenger for the lucrative United State Air Force "T-X" advanced jet trainer competition. The design was rolled out on September 13th at the Boeing St. Louis (Missouri) facility. It is a "clean sheet" design meaning that it has been engineered from the ground up and not based on an existing, proven aircraft already in service.
Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the T-X is planned for 2023.
The basic approach is a conventionally-arranged aircraft sporting a high-mounted wing mainplane, twin vertical tail fins and a single engine installation. The engine, the General Electric GE F404 series turbofan, is aspirated by a split-air intake duct system. The crew of two are seated in tandem under a lightly-framed canopy - it is assumed the student in front with the instructor aft. The cockpit sits aft of a slender, pointed nosecone and the overall design exudes aerodynamic efficiency. The undercarriage is of a typical tricycle arrangement (of course retractable) with the main legs (single-wheeled) sitting under center mass of the aircraft and the nose leg (also single-wheeled) found under the cockpit floor. Some components of the aircraft are said to have been 3D-printed to help lower costs. Saab is said to be responsible for the middle and aft sections of the new aircraft.
Boeing/Saab promise high maneuverability and a high Angle-of-Attack (AoA) from their design. Logistical friendliness is also noted for the F404 engine in the Boeing-Saab T-X is the same already in the U.S. military pipeline as it powers the Boeing F/A-18 "Hornet" family.
Some 350 advanced trainers are sought by the service to replace the aging line of Northrop Grumman T-38 Talons. Northrop Grumman is also a challenger in the T-X competition along with Lockheed. Northrop revealed their T-X entry in August 2016 - the prototype also powered by the F404 engine. Boeing recently lost out to build the next-generation bomber for the USAF (this went to Northrop) so nabbing the T-X contract is something of a must. Its St. Louis production facility will also see a slowdown in work with the planned wrap-up of fighter production related to the F-15 and F/A-18 lines.
Two production-quality aircraft are ready for evaluation.
Values presented on this page for the Boeing-Saab T-X are estimated on the part of the author. They will be revised when official specifications of the aircraft are revealed by the manufacturer.
December 2017 - The Boeing T-X prototype completed its first-flight on December 20th, 2016.
April 2017 - The second T-X prototype completed its first-flight, this lasting one hour. The flight took place on April 24th.
September 2018 - The United States Air Force has awarded Boeing a $9 billion USD contract to make its T-X proposal the next advanced trainer of the service.
December 2018 - The T-X is a contender for a 33-strong advanced jet trainer requirement of the Royal Australian Air Force.
February 2019 - It was announced by Saab that a production location for building the new T-X trainers in the United States will be selected by the middle of 2019.
May 2019 - Saab has announced plans to set up an all-new manufacturing facility in West Lafayette, Indiana for its contribution to the Boeing-led T-X advanced jet trainer program. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2020.
July 2019 - It was announced that Boeing had begun flight-testing of one of its two T-X prototypes.
September 2019 - On September 16th, 2019, the USAF formally revealed the official designation of the T-X Advanced Jet Trainer, T-7A "Red Hawk". The name is to honor the U.S. Army Air Corps' Tuskegee Airmen of World War 2 who flew, among other platforms, the famous Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk" fighter. The service is expected to procure 351 airframes along with 46 simulators to succeed an aging fleet of Northrop T-38C Talon jet trainers.
January 2020 - Saab has begun production of the T-7A Red Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer. These will begin manufacture in Linkoping, Sweden and end with final assembly at the Boeing St. Louis facility.
June 2020 - The United States Air Force announced that it has successfully completed its system-level design / ground-based training review of the T-7A advanced jet trainer aircraft.
July 2020 - The T-7 is being assessed by Boeing for the light strike role - replacing such aging types as the Northrop F-5 Tiger II and Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet lightweight fighter / trainer lines.
July 2020 - Australia has emerged as a possible first-export customer of the in-development T-7A Red Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer. The Royal Australian Air Force seeks to replace an aging fleet of British BAe Hawk aircraft in same role.
September 2020 - The United States Air Force has adopted a new weapon system designator prefix for those airframes designed and tested digitally. This has resulted in the new eT-7A designation for the T-7A Red Hawk AJT.
December 2020 - The first T-7A Red Hawk simulators are under construction by Boeing.
February 2021 - Saab looks to move T-7A production work to Boeing's West Lafayette facility.
Production 2 Units
Boeing Company - USA / Saab - Sweden
- X-Plane / Developmental
46.42 ft (14.15 m)
32.81 ft (10 m)
13.12 ft (4 m)
7,165 lb (3,250 kg)
12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Boeing-Saab eT-7A production model)
1 x General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine developing 17,200lb of thrust.
808 mph (1,300 kph; 702 kts)
50,000 feet (15,240 m; 9.47 miles)
1,143 miles (1,840 km; 994 nm)
33,500 ft/min (10,211 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Boeing-Saab eT-7A production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Boeing-Saab eT-7A production model)
T-7 "Red Hawk" - Base Series Designation.
eT-7A - Initial production variant under new USAF weapon system designator (Sept 2020).
T-X - Developmental program designation.
BTX-1 - Prototype designation covering two flyable airframes.
(Cockpit image represents the Boeing T-X production model)
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (808mph).
Graph average of 750 miles-per-hour.
Boeing-Saab eT-7A operational range when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
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