Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk (T-X) Full Review – The first Boeing T-X prototype demonstrated is equipped with a General Electric F404 series engine.
Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk (T-X) Full Review
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – In September 2016, Missouri-based Boeing Corporation officially unveiled a new training aircraft that will be offered to the Pentagon for competition under the T-X program to replace the Air Force’s Northrop T-38 training aircraft, whose capabilities no longer quite match the training requirements of pilots who will have to fly fifth-generation fighter jets.
The aircraft so far has a lapidary designation T-X, developed in partnership with Swedish group Saab AB, and looks like a sort of single-engine version of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter (so far the appearance of Boeing T-X was not disclosed). The first Boeing T-X prototype demonstrated is equipped with a General Electric F404 series engine. The first flight of the first Boeing T-X or BTX-1 prototype (N381TX) took place on December 20, 2016, in St. Louis.
Also competing in the T-X program are Northrop Grumman consortia in partnership with BAE Systems Corporation, L-3 Communications and Scaled Composites (with the specially designed Northrop Grumman Model 400 aircraft), Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (with the M-346-based T-100 aircraft), and Lockheed Martin and KAI (with the T-50A aircraft).
According to available information, the T-X aircraft was built from scratch to maximize its performance characteristics of fifth-generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The T-X aircraft is also designed to have a wide range of options for future upgrades as new technologies evolve.
A distinctive feature of the new aircraft is its full readiness for large-scale mass production, virtually without going through the traditional stages of flight testing and refinement, although it was designed from scratch.
It is likely that the consortium was able to achieve such speed thanks to the use of modern computer-aided design systems, as well as previous experience in aircraft construction. Thus, externally T-X reminds a mixture of fighter F/A-18F Super Hornet, produced by Boeing, and combat aircraft JAS-39 Gripen, company Saab.
Like most training fighters, the T-X is sleekly shaped and has a single-engine. The twin tail fins are inherited from the Saab Gripen, it has a large angle of attack and gives the aircraft increased maneuverability. Modular elements are used in the design of the aircraft wherever possible. This will allow for the replacement of components and electronics aircraft with more modern systems, so the Boeing T-X fighter will always be “on the cutting edge” of aviation technology throughout its lifetime, which is several decades.
The fairly spacious cockpit is literally packed with the latest technology, and quite a significant portion of all avionics is designed for the process of effective flight training. In addition, the capabilities of the training system can be greatly expanded by its integration with specialized ground systems.
The T-X should feature communications, radar warning systems, multifunction displays, and equipment with radar data simulation capability.
The T-X’s onboard equipment must be able to simulate the use of various types of weapons. The airframe must be able to withstand at least 6.5 g for at least 15 seconds in a dive with 80 percent of the fuel weight of a full load at flight altitudes of 3,000 to 6,000 meters.
Onboard systems must be able to withstand 7.5g of g-loads and acceleration rates of at least 3g per second. Finally, the aircraft must also be able to withstand a momentary change in the angular rate of rotation of 12 degrees per second and a steady-state turn rate of nine degrees per second.
The first prototypes of such fighters were presented to the public in September 2016, and Boeing is currently negotiating with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense for a contract to supply T-X aircraft to the Army. And if Boeing’s efforts are successful, the T-X fighter could enter service in 2024.
On Sept. 16, 2019, U.S. Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan, speaking at the Air Force Association’s annual 2019 Air, Space and Cyber Conference in Nashnell Harbor, Maryland, announced that the advanced T-X jet trainer aircraft jointly developed by Boeing and Saab and selected to equip the U.S. Air Force has been officially designated the T-7A Red Hawk.
According to Donovan, the training plane developed by Boeing and Saab was named after the P-40 Warhawk fighter, one of the most popular planes of World War II. At the same time, the aircraft will receive a special paint job – a red tail stabilizer. This will be in honor of the 99th Fighter Squadron “Pilots from Tuskegee” who flew the P-40.
Training on the T-7A will take place in two phases – first, pilots will be tested in a ground-based simulator, which Boeing will introduce in fall 2019, and then will be able to sit at the controls of the training vehicle.
The T-7A is planned to replace the aging T-38 Talon. Under the terms of the contract, the aircraft manufacturer will have to deliver 351 next-generation training aircraft by 2024.