At Dubai Air Show 2021, Thom Breckenridge, Boeing’s Vice President, Bombers and Fighters International Business Development, discussed the T-7 advanced pilot training system with reporters.
The T-7A Red Hawk is an all-new advanced pilot training system designed for the U.S. Air Force that, according to Breckenridge, will train the next generation of fighter and bomber pilots for decades to come.
In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a 9.2 billion USD contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 associated ground-based training simulators. The U.S. Air Force’s T-7A Red Hawk programme is arguably the world’s first digitally-native aircraft programme, ushering in a new era of aircraft design and production that is breaking the norms of typical new-start DoD programmes of record.
At the briefing, Breckenridge said that the T-7 is a new advanced pilot training system that includes ground-based training designed together from the start, and engineers applied model-based engineering and advanced manufacturing and testing techniques to move from concept to first flight in just 36 months.
“Compared to traditional aircraft development programs, T-7A experienced a 75% increase improvement in first-time engineering quality, an 80 percent reduction in assembly hours and a 50 percent reduction in software development and verification time,” he said.
Breckenridge explained that executing on the U.S. Air Force contract for the T-7A Red Hawk was Boeing’s top priority right now and would strengthen their ability to ultimately serve the international market.
“T-7 will be a franchise program for much of this century, and beyond the current U.S. Air Force contract, we see potential global market opportunities of up to 2,600 aircraft plus ground-based trainers and advanced simulation technologies,” he said.
Boeing has said that customers will benefit greatly from the T-7’s advanced pilot training system, providing real-as-it-gets simulation, interactive classroom lessons, computer-based training modules, adaptive training that adjusts to students’ needs, and a complete suite of instructor tools – for optimum results on the ground and in the “classroom in the sky.”
The T-7A’s design includes provisions for growth as requirements evolve for additional missions such as an aggressor, light attack/fighter variant.