Boeing has initiated production of the first U.S. portion of the T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer, the company reported on Tuesday. The aircraft was fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems developed at Boeing over the past 20 years.
“The future of air dominance lies in the ability to move quickly, take smart risks and partner in new ways to get the job done,” said Shelley Lavender, Boeing senior vice president of Strike, Surveillance and Mobility. “By creating aircraft and systems along a digital thread, we can accelerate build times and increase quality and affordability for our customers in a way that has never been done before.”
The T-7A Red Hawk is an advanced pilot training system designed for the U.S. Air Force that will train the next generation of fighter and bomber pilots. The T-7A Red Hawk leveraged the digital engineering and design of Boeing’s T-X aircraft.
Designed using a digital thread, the T-7A aligns with the U.S. Air Force’s Digital Century Series strategy by enabling the integration of new concepts and capabilities faster and more affordably through virtual testing. The Advanced Pilot Training System also incorporates leading-edge ground-based live and virtual simulators to give students and instructors a “real as it gets” experience.
In Sept. 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 associated ground-based training simulators. Saab is teamed with Boeing on the trainer and provides the aft fuselage of the jet.
“This is a historic moment for the program and industry,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president of T-7 Programs. “The build process leverages full-size determinant assembly, which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality.”
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.