T-7A Red Hawk made slow progress due the ejection seat issues

WASHINGTON, US — Boeing says its T-7A Red Hawk Jet Trainer is making progress in resolving the seat issue and plans to begin flight testing this summer.

Swedish design, American engine - Boeing's T-7A Red Hawk will fly
Photo credit: Boeing

U.S. officials are pressuring the U.S. Air Force to move faster in replacing the half-century-old T-38 jet trainer. The T-38 has been involved in several crashes in recent years. The flight test program for the T-7A Red Hawk, which will replace the T-38, is progressing slowly due to a problem with the ejection seat.

Boeing has announced that it is making progress in resolving an ejection seat problem delaying the US Air Force’s new T-7A jet trainer program and hopes to begin developmental flight tests this summer.

The T-38 killed too many people

Speaking at a March session of the US House Defense Subcommittee, Mike Garcia said: “The T-38 killed too many people, and anything we can do to speed up the production of its replacement, the T-7. It’s the future of our nation, especially the Air Force,” he said.

A company representative said Boeing, which has built five test aircraft and two flying prototypes for the T-7A Red Hawk, expects to conduct more rigorous flight tests starting this summer after receiving a military clearance that makes the plane ready for flight.

After the company’s first tests this summer, the aircraft will be sent to Edwards Air Force Base for flight testing by the US Air Force in September.

351 T-7 Red Hawks will be delivered

Delays in T-7 production were largely due to problems with the aircraft’s ejection seat system. Due to the ejection seat issue, the US Air Force wants to delay the purchase of the first operational aircraft until 2025 and expects the first delivery of the mass-production aircraft to take place in December 2025.

The US Air Force plans to purchase a total of 351 T-7 fighters. But despite this, no budget was requested for the purchase of the T-7 in the 2024 budget sent to the US Congress last month.

An Air Force spokesman said the T-7’s delays could not be mitigated by a more aggressive flight test program. “The planned flight schedule is already based on success and is aggressive,” the spokesman said.


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