Saab has been awarded a $101 million contract to produce aft fuselage sections for Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainers, as the new type advances towards operational use.
Revealed by the Swedish airframer on 23 January, the order was placed during the fourth quarter of 2023, it says. The work will be performed at its manufacturing facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, which was established in support of the US Air Force (USAF) trainer recapitalisation programme.
“This order ensures the ramp-up of serial production to meet both current and future customers’ increased needs,” says Lars Tossman, head of Saab’s Aeronautics business area. The company has not disclosed how many aircraft structures are covered by its new contract.
Describing the single-engined Red Hawk as “the most modern and forward-looking advanced pilot training system on the market”, Tossman says: “I am confident that this is a programme that will deliver aircraft for many years to come.”
The USAF will field at least 351 T-7As as replacements for its current Northrop T-38C trainers, under a $9.2 billion contract placed in 2018.
Boeing last year delivered two engineering and manufacturing development (EMD)-phase Red Hawks to the USAF to support flight tests. Single production-representative examples were transferred to Edwards AFB in California and Eglin AFB in Florida.
Recent activity has included the Eglin example undergoing climate chamber tests, “to assess the T-7A’s system functionality while operating in extreme environmental conditions” ranging from -31°C (-25°F) to 43°C.
Five T-7As were produced during the programme’s EMD phase, with a so-called Milestone C production decision anticipated during fiscal year 2024.