Saab has shipped the last of five fully installed T-7A Red Hawk aft fuselages from its factory in Linköping, Sweden to Boeing’s production site in St. Louis. In addition to the five Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) aft fuselages, Saab has over the program also delivered two test fuselages, one for static testing and one for fatigue testing.
With both the forward and aft fuselages complete, the two sections were joined together in less than 30 minutes ‒ a fraction of the time it takes for traditional aircraft builds and a testament to the benefits of the T-7A’s digital foundation. As part of the manufacturing process, Boeing splices together Saab’s aft section with the front section. This is followed by assembly of the wings, fins and tail to become a complete test aircraft for use in the EMD flight test program. Saab’s first EMD delivery to Boeing was in April 2021. Since then, all further EMD deliveries have been 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.
In the future, Saab will produce the rear sections at their manufacturing facility in West Lafayette, Indiana. The new facility will allow for shorter shipping times and increased collaboration between Boeing and Saab.
“We’re excited to begin building the first trainer jets future Air Force pilots will fly,” said Paul Niewald, vice president, Boeing T-7 programs. “Boeing and Saab quality and production teams will be closer, accelerating responsiveness to meet engineering and hardware needs.”
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators and support. The jet was designed using advanced digital modeling and design techniques and was developed from concept to first flight in 36 months. The T-7A incorporates open architecture software, digital fly-by-wire controls and advanced cockpit technology that provide a new level of safety and training for future fighter pilots.