T-7A Red Hawk Arrival at Edwards AFB Reflects Integrated Team Effort

  • Published
  • By Chase Kohler
  • 412th Test Wing

The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk successfully arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Nov. 8, 2023. This milestone formally commences the Air Force’s developmental flight test campaign for the aircraft, aimed at fielding a replacement pilot training capability for the 1960’s-era Northrop T-38 Talon.

The aircraft, known as APT-2, is the first production representative jet off the assembly line and was piloted by a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing aircrew. The journey to Edwards included stops at Vance AFB, Okla., Kirtland AFB, N.M., and Luke AFB, Ariz.

“This arrival marks an exciting transition into the next phase of developmental flight” noted Maj. Jonathan Aronoff, T-7A test pilot. “The T-7A gives immense capability updates that will allow the Air Force to train the next generation of combat aviators. Success of first delivery is truly a testament to the joint USAF-industry team we have in place” added Aronoff. 

The collaboration in the cockpit represents the construct of the T-7A Integrated Test Force, which will see Air Force and Boeing team members working shoulder-to-shoulder to rapidly test and certify the aircraft. The T-7A team has been leveraging digital transformation through Distributed Test Operations since 2019. This method allows seamless networked capability between Boeing’s facilities in St. Louis and mission control rooms at Edwards. The T-7A ITF is part of the larger Airpower Foundations Combined Test Force at Edwards, in association with the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

Test pilots have been busy rehearsing missions in the simulator and will quickly begin to fly up to three times daily, utilizing APT-2 for envelope expansion testing before moving into mission systems. The T-7A ITF will utilize a mix of both Air Force and contractor-owned aircraft to swiftly bring cutting edge capability to train the next generation of warfighters.

The T-7A notched its first Air Force-piloted flight on June 28 in historic fashion. The name “Red Hawk” honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II.