Nov. 9, 2023, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (AFNS) – The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk successfully arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, Nov. 8. The milestone formally commences the Air Force’s developmental flight test campaign for the aircraft, aimed at fielding a replacement pilot training capability for the 1960’s-era Northrop T-38 Talon.
The aircraft, known as APT-2, is the first production representative jet off the assembly line and was piloted by a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew. The journey to Edwards AFB included stops at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and Luke AFB, Arizona.
“This arrival marks an exciting transition into the next phase of developmental flight,” Maj. Jonathan Aronoff, T-7A test pilot, said. “The T-7A gives immense capability updates that will allow the Air Force to train the next generation of combat aviators. Success of first delivery is truly
The aircrew collaboration in the cockpit represents the structure of the T-7A Integrated Test Force, which will see Air Force and Boeing team members working shoulder-to-shoulder to rapidly test and certify the aircraft. The T-7A team has been leveraging digital transformation through Distributed Test Operations since 2019. This method allows seamless networked capability between Boeing’s facilities in St. Louis and mission control rooms at Edwards AFB. The T-7A ITF is part of the larger Airpower Foundations Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB, in association with the 416th Flight Test Squadron.
Test pilots have been busy rehearsing missions in a T-7A simulator and will quickly begin to fly up to three times daily, utilizing APT-2 for envelope expansion testing before moving into mission systems. The T-7A ITF will utilize a mix of both Air Force and contractor-owned aircraft to swiftly bring cutting-edge capability to train the next generation of warfighters.
The T-7A notched its first Air Force-piloted flight on June 28 in historic fashion. The name “Red Hawk” honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II.
Source USAF, 412th Test Wing
Photos courtesy USAF