T-7A

21st September 2021

T-7A user+1@localho Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:17

The T-7A Red Hawk is an advanced jet trainer (AJT) built by Boeing in partnership with Saab. The aircraft is powered by a single General Electric F404 turbofan engine. The T-7A will replace the T-38 Talon in U.S. Air Force service with an initial program of record for 351 aircraft. Boeing believes the T-7A s combination of extensive embedded simulation capabilities and low fly-away as well as sustainment cost will make the type an attractive platform for international AJT and light combat aircraft (LCA) operators.

Program History

The USAF originally acquired its T-38 Talon fleet between 1961 and 1972. The type received numerous structural, engine and subsystem overhauls to keep the aircraft serviceable. However, the T-38 has become increasingly unable to replicate the growing avionics complexity and performance of modern fighters. In 2009, the USAF found the T-38 could not meet 12 out of 18 essential tasks to conduct pilot training such as sensor fusion, advanced air-to-air tactics, etc. In December 2013, Boeing and Saab signed a Joint Development Agreement to explore a future advanced jet trainer for the USAF.

By March 2015, the USAF published an initial request for information (RFI) for its T-X requirement. The service issued a draft RFP in July 2016 and the final RFP on Dec. 30, 2016. Key aircraft capabilities included sustaining a threshold of 6.5g, and an objective of 7.5g, at Mach 0.9 and 15,000 ft. over 140 deg. of a 180-deg. maneuver while carrying an 80% fuel load. The service projected the cost of 351 aircraft and 40 simulators at more than $16 billion.

Originally, five teams participated the in competition, but many firms left or reorganized their bids prior to source selection: Lockheed Martin-KAI with the T-50A, Boeing-Saab with the T-X, Raytheon-Leonardo with the T-100, Northrop Grumman-BAE with the Hawk (later a clean sheet design) and Textron Airland with the Scorpion. In January 2017, Raytheon announced it had withdrawn from T-X. Leonardo opted to continue and partnered with its U.S. based subsidiary DRS. Raytheon s departure was followed by Northrop Grumman and Textron Airland in February and March 2017 respectively. Many firms reportedly left as they perceived the competition would favor the lowest-cost, technically compliant bid. On September 27, 2018, the Air Force selected Boeing to build its next generation AJT. In September 2019, the Air Force designated the Boeing T-X as the T-7A Red Hawk in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Features

The Boeing T-7A design draws heavily on the high angle of attack (AoA) performance of Boeing s F/A-18 fighter, with a similar shoulder-mounted trapezoidal wing with leading-edge root extensions, twin fins and all-moving stabilators although the tails are attached to F-15-style booms. The T-7A even has small vortex control fences at the inboard wing leading edges similar to those on the legacy Hornet. The T-7A s F404 engine produces nearly three times the thrust of the T-38 s twin J85 turbojets at more than 17,500 lbf. The T-7 s dimensions closely match the T-50 with a length of 46.93 ft., wingspan of 30.6 ft. and height of 13.55 ft.

The T-7A is equipped with a centerline hardpoint underneath the fuselage and Boeing has said two additional pylons per wing can be equipped as needed. Similarly, Boeing has built provisions for an aerial refueling receptacle which can be added subject to customer requirements. The following companies are involved with the T-7 program:

  • Saab aft fuselage section
  • Elbit Systems of America cockpit displays, embedded training capability, data link
  • General Electric F404 turbofan engine
  • L3Harris Technologies mission systems, including navigation system
  • Collins Aerospace ACES 5 ejection seat, landing gear, NAV-4500 navigation receivers
  • Triumph Group Inc hydraulic pumps, electric generators and auxiliary fuel pumps