Saab third aft section for USAF T-7A flight tests

Saab has shipped its third aft airframe section for use in the T-7A Red Hawk flight test programme for the US Air Force (USAF), the latest milestone to be met in the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

Shipped on September 10 from Saab’s Linköping site in Sweden to Boeing in St Louis, Missouri, the airframe will be part of the first T-7A to fly. On completion of the EMD phase, Saab’s new facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, will undertake Saab’s production of the aft airframe sections for the T-7A programme.

T-7A Red Hawk
The design of the T-7A Red Hawk is thought better suited to the training of USAF combat pilots than the current T-38 Talon jet trainer. Saab

Upon arrival the aft airframe is spliced together with the front section, following by assembly of the wings, fins and tail to become a complete test aircraft for use in the EMD’s flight test programme. The aft section with installed subsystems - hydraulics, fuel and secondary power system - extends from behind the cockpit to the end of the aircraft. 

“This delivery shows we are committed to our plan and the solid progress achieved towards completing our EMD schedule,” said Jonas Hjelm, senior vice president and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

In April 2021, Saab delivered its first T-7A Red Hawk aft airframe section followed by the second delivery in July 2021. Once introduced into service the aircraft will form the backbone of the USAF’s live combat pilot training.