T-7A Red Hawk / T-X Advanced Trainer Replacement
The name Red Hawk honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II. The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, the U.S. Army Air Forces’ first African American fighter squadron. The Tuskegee Airmen subsequently painted their Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and North American P-51 Mustangs with a red-tailed paint scheme.
A $9.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing in September 2019 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. The first T-7A aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38C to the T-7A. Those bases include Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB and Sheppard AFB, Texas; and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
Along with updated technology and performance capabilities, the T-7A will be accompanied by enhanced simulators and the ability to update system software faster and more seamlessly. The plane was also designed with maintainers in mind by utilizing easy-to-reach and open access panels. 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 Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded on 27 September 2018 an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with an estimated ceiling of $9,202,568,686 for the Advanced Pilot Training aircraft and ground-based training systems. The contract provides for the anticipated delivery of 351 aircraft, 46 associated training devices, and other ancillary supplies and service (e.g., initial spares, support equipment, sustainment, and training). The contract includes the initial delivery order for engineering and manufacturing development of Advanced Pilot Training aircraft and ground-based training systems for $813,385,533.
The maximum quantity of aircraft and training devices the Air Force can purchase under this indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is 475 aircraft and 120 ground based training systems. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be complete by 2034. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $33,600,000 are being obligated on the first delivery order at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8617-18-D-6219).
"This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots," Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson said. "Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program." The original service cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft.
"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team," said Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "It is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system centered on the unique requirements of the U.S. Air Force. We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century." The fighter-like trainer aircraft, which was designed for ease of maintenance, is the cornerstone of an all-new pilot training system that also includes classroom training and simulators. It will help train future fighter and bomber pilots for generations to come.
Boeing offered the only all-new system purpose-built for the U.S. Air Force training mission – with aircraft, ground based training and support designed together from the start. Proven in manufacturing and flight test, the new, flexible design met all requirements and can evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change.
The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
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