Almost exactly one year ago, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) won a $9.2 billion contract to deliver 351 trainer aircraft, 46 training devices, and other ground equipment to replace the U.S. Air Force’s 57-year-old T-38 trainer planes. On Monday, the Air Force announced the training jet’s new name: T-7A Red Hawk.
The plane’s name commemorates both the 99th Fighter Squadron, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, and one of three aircraft the squadron flew in World War II: the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The 99th painted the tails of their aircraft, including Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and North American P-51 Mustangs, red and were known as the Red Tails.
The Air Force could purchase up to 475 Red Hawks and 120 training systems under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. The work is expected to be completed by 2034 and first deliveries are scheduled for 2023.
The T-7A is a joint project between Boeing and Saab and will be built at Boeing’s facility in St. Louis. According to Boeing’s announcement, more than 90% of each plane will be manufactured in the United States, supporting 17,000 jobs in 34 states. Saab also committed to constructing a plant in the United States in which to build the plane.
The Boeing-Saab bid was more than $10 billion lower than the Air Force’s original cost estimate. Under the terms of the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, the Air Force could purchase a total of 451 Red Hawks and 120 training systems.
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan commented:
The T-7A will be the staple of a new generation of aircraft. The Red Hawk offers advanced capabilities for training tomorrow’s pilots on data links, simulated radar, smart weapons, defensive management systems, as well as synthetic training capabilities.