The last of five rear sections of the T-7A Red Hawk trainer aircraft for the US Air Force has been delivered to Boeing from Saab in Linköping, Sweden.
This is the final delivery of the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the programme.
With both the forward and aft fuselages complete, the two sections were joined together in less than 30 minutes â a fraction of the time it takes for traditional aircraft builds.
All production will now be transferred to Saab’s new and smart production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana where all future production of the T-7 aft fuselage will take place, supported by both Saab’s Swedish- and US-based personnel. The new facility will allow for shorter shipping times and increased collaboration between Boeing and Saab.
As part of the manufacturing process, Boeing splices together Saab’s aft section with the front section. This is followed by assembly of the wings, fins and tail to become a complete test aircraft for use in the EMD flight test program.
Saab’s first EMD delivery to Boeing was in April 2021. Since then, all further EMD deliveries have been completed in just over a year.
On 28th April 2022, Boeing and Saab rolled out the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer test aircraft built for the EMD phase.
“We’re excited to begin building the first trainer jets future Air Force pilots will fly,” said Paul Niewald, vice president, Boeing T-7 programmes. “Boeing and Saab quality and production teams will be closer, accelerating responsiveness to meet engineering and hardware needs.”
“Developed with an engineering approach based on digital models, the T-7A represents a revolutionary approach to developing aircraft,” said Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab’s Business Aeronautics.
The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2bn contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators and support. The jet was designed using advanced digital modelling and design techniques, and was developed from concept to first flight in 36 months.
The T-7A incorporates open architecture software, digital fly-by-wire controls and advanced cockpit technology that provide a new level of safety and training for future fighter pilots.