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First Boeing T-7A Red Hawk Arrives at Edwards Air Force Base to Begin US Air Force Flight Testing

Cross-country flight showcases new advanced trainer for future US Air Force fighter and bomber pilots

November 9, 2023 St. Louis Photo(s): By USAF / Bryce Bennett
The first T-7A Red Hawk, piloted by USAF test pilot Maj. Jonathan "Gremlin" Aronoff and Boeing test pilot Steve “Bull” Schmidt, soars over Edwards Air Force Base, California, November 9, prior to arrival. The T-7A will replace the 1960s-era T-38 aircraft by providing advanced pilot training capabilities for aviators learning to fly both tactical and bomber aircraft.

The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer for the US Air Force has completed its 1,400-mile cross-country flight to Edwards Air Force Base in California to begin its next phase of flight testing. The aircraft, known as APT-2, is the first production representative jet off the assembly line and was piloted by a joint US Air Force and Boeing aircrew.

The T-7A Red Hawk made stops at Air Force bases in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona to refuel and offer base employees a firsthand look at the new advanced trainer before the final leg to Edwards. Boeing delivered the first Red Hawk to the Air Force on Sept. 15.

“This is a pivotal moment for the T-7 program,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and program manager, T-7 programs. “Bringing the T-7A Red Hawk to the heart of the US Air Force’s test community at Edwards for dynamic flight testing will prove the jet’s performance as an agile and safe trainer for future pilots.”

Once Air Force test pilots are familiar with the aircraft, they will expand the flight envelope starting with flutter testing. Two other Red Hawks will follow to test various flight attributes and systems as part of a rigorous series of tests.

“Like most test programs, we’ll have discovery and we’ll overcome it quickly,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, division chief, US Air Force, T-7A Red Hawk program. “This is the right team to go after any challenges we find.”

In 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators and support. The T-7A will replace the Air Force’s aging T-38 aircraft.