The U.S. Air Force has announced its name for Boeing’s new advanced pilot training system: the T-7A Red Hawk.
The name is derived from the Red Tails, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. This historic group was the first unit of African-American military pilots and support personnel who fought in World War II. They became known as the Red Tails due to the distinctive red paint on the tails of their P-51 Mustang aircraft.
The announcement was made during the opening session at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md. Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan unveiled the name and livery.
“We are humbled to honour the legacy of the legendary Red Tail squadrons through the production of the T-7A Red Hawk,” said Steve Parker, vice president, Boeing Advanced Pilot Training System. “The T-7A and the ground-based training system demonstrate a new level of performance in flight training to prepare the pilots of tomorrow.”
In recent months, Boeing’s T-7A programme has accomplished a number of significant milestones, including the first official Engineering and Manufacturing Development flight test, the aircraft’s 100th flight and the completion of aircraft critical design review.
The T-7A Red Hawk is the new advanced pilot training system for the U.S. Air Force that will train the next generation of pilots for decades to come.
Building off the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the T-7A Red Hawk pays tribute to the legends of the past and the heroes of the future.
An all-new training system purpose-built for the mission, the T-7A gives the U.S. Air Force a flexible design that can adapt as technologies and training needs change.
The T-7A Red Hawk, manufactured by Boeing, introduces capabilities that prepare pilots for fifth-generation fighters, including high-G environment, information and sensor management, high angle of attack flight characteristics, night operations and transferable air-to-air and air-to-ground skills.
The T-7A features twin tails, slats and big leading-edge root extensions that provide deft handling at low speeds, allowing it to fly in a way that better approximates real-world demands and is specifically designed to prepare pilots for fifth-generation aircraft. The aircraft’s single engine generates nearly three times more thrust than the dual engines of the T-38C Talon which it is replacing.
“The distance between the T-38 and an F-35 is night and day,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein. “But with the T-7A the distance is much, much smaller, and that’s important because it means the pilots trained on it will be that much better, that much faster at a time when we must be able to train to the speed of the threat.”
A $9.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing in September 2018 calls for 351 T-7A aircraft, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment to be delivered and installed, replacing Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons.