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The second phase of the flight trials of T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft has begun. The aircraft has been developed for the US Air Force (USAF) by Boeing in cooperation with Saab. It is expected that future generations of U.S. Air Force pilots will train using this all-new advanced pilot training system. 

Boeing, the prime contractor said Phase 2 flight testing had begun with three sorties being flown on the same day out of its St Louis production facility in Missouri. As noted by Boeing, this new phase will see the aircraft’s “fighter-like performance and digital capabilities” evaluated for future USAF fighter and bomber pilots.

351 Red Hawk aircraft will be built by Boeing for the USAF to replace the service’s aging Northrop T-38 Talon, according to janes.com. 

Designed using a digital thread modeling approach, the T-7A aligns with the U.S. Air Force’s Digital Century Series strategy by enabling the integration of new concepts and capabilities faster and more affordably through virtual testing.

The Air Force, in a recent statement, said multiple issues are inhibiting the Red Hawk’s progress toward production. For example, the Milestone C decision, or full-rate production, slipped from 2022 to 2023 because of supplier-side critical parts shortages, initial design delays, and the need for more testing after the “discovery of aircraft wing rock,” which means the T-7 can be unstable in the roll axis when flying at high angles of attack, as reported by airforcemag.com.