Saab welcomes first T-7A Red Hawk flight by USAF pilot

The first flight by a United States Air Force’s (USAF) pilot of a T-7A advanced jet trainer built during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase took place on June 28 from St. Louis, USA.

The 63-minute flight by the USAF test pilot Maj. Bryce Turner, 416th Flight Test Squadron and Boeing T-7 chief test pilot Steve Schmidt, was observed by senior representatives of the USAF, Boeing, and Saab, as well as an audience who watched online via the internet.

“The first flight of the T-7A by a serving Air Force pilot is a historic achievement for the program and is a tribute to the years of hard work and dedication from Saab and Boeing,” said Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab in the U.S.

Saab is responsible for the development and production of the fully installed aft section for T-7A. The seven afts produced at Saab in Linköping, Sweden are part of the EMD test aircraft. Saab has opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility West Lafayette, Indiana for the production series aircraft, which will be used for pilot training by the U.S. Air Force.

The T-7A program is currently in the EMD phase. The EMD phase includes engineering, verification and validation activities, test aircraft build, flight test support and preparation for series production. Saab’s first EMD delivery to Boeing was in April 2021. Since then, all further EMD deliveries were completed in just over a year. On April 28, 2022, Boeing and Saab rolled out the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer test aircraft built for the EMD phase. An initial trial flight of the EMD aircraft was performed earlier by a Boeing test pilot.

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