WASHINGTON – Swedish Saab has provided the American Boeing with the third serial rear section of the T-7A Red Hawk training jet, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence24. The design won the TX program, which consisted in selecting the successor to the old Northrop T-38 Talon jets, which have been used for over half a century.
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Manufactured at the Linköping plant in Sweden, the stern section was delivered on September 10 this year. The recipient of this part of the airframe was the Boeing plant in Saint Louis, Missouri. The said part concerns the T-7A training aircraft, produced jointly by companies from the USA and Sweden. So far, two prototypes have been created under the T-X program, the first of which had its maiden flight on December 20, 2016, 36 months after the start of concept work. Intensive work has been carried out since then, and serial production has recently started. Ultimately, the production of all components will take place on American soil, at the Saab factory in West Lafayette under construction.
Earlier, because the remaining two stern sections of the serial T-7A were delivered in April and July this year, respectively. They were later mounted with the bow sections, which were then joined to the wings and fins. Saab emphasized that the bow and stern of the machine were connected in just thirty minutes. It was possible thanks to numerous facilitations implemented in the production and development process, intended to minimize the time spent on assembling a single aircraft.
“This delivery is proof that we are committed to our plan and that we have made significant progress in our R&D schedule. The aircraft will be part of the first [serial] T-7A flying aircraft and is another step towards starting production on our new, modern facility in West Lafayette, Indiana,” Jonas Hjelm, Saab vice president said.
Serial production of the new aircraft started in March this year. Both Boeing and Saab emphasize that the machine is susceptible to possible future modifications, to improve the design or create completely new solutions for air force training in the future.
Initial operational readiness of the T-7A should be achieved in 2024, with priority being the fulfillment of the needs of the American side, which has ordered 351 aircraft with 46 simulators, ground training devices, and support and training packages for USD 9.2 billion. Boeing also expects the aircraft to be exported to interested countries once all USAF airframes have been delivered.
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