In mid-September of 2016, The Boeing Company - in partnership with Sweden's Saab - revealed their challenger for the lucrative United State Air Force "T-X" advanced jet trainer competition. The design was rolled out on September 13th at the Boeing St. Louis (Missouri) facility. It is a "clean sheet" design meaning that it has been engineered from the ground up and not based on an existing, proven aircraft already in service.
Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the T-X is planned for 2023.
The basic approach is a conventionally-arranged aircraft sporting a high-mounted wing mainplane, twin vertical tail fins and a single engine installation. The engine, the General Electric GE F404 series turbofan, is aspirated by a split-air intake duct system. The crew of two are seated in tandem under a lightly-framed canopy - it is assumed the student in front with the instructor aft. The cockpit sits aft of a slender, pointed nosecone and the overall design exudes aerodynamic efficiency. The undercarriage is of a typical tricycle arrangement (of course retractable) with the main legs (single-wheeled) sitting under center mass of the aircraft and the nose leg (also single-wheeled) found under the cockpit floor. Some components of the aircraft are said to have been 3D-printed to help lower costs. Saab is said to be responsible for the middle and aft sections of the new aircraft.
Boeing/Saab promise high maneuverability and a high Angle-of-Attack (AoA) from their design. Logistical friendliness is also noted for the F404 engine in the Boeing-Saab T-X is the same already in the U.S. military pipeline as it powers the Boeing F/A-18 "Hornet" family.
Some 350 advanced trainers are sought by the service to replace the aging line of Northrop Grumman T-38 Talons. Northrop Grumman is also a challenger in the T-X competition along with Lockheed. Northrop revealed their T-X entry in August 2016 - the prototype also powered by the F404 engine. Boeing recently lost out to build the next-generation bomber for the USAF (this went to Northrop) so nabbing the T-X contract is something of a must. Its St. Louis production facility will also see a slowdown in work with the planned wrap-up of fighter production related to the F-15 and F/A-18 lines.
Two production-quality aircraft are ready for evaluation.
Values presented on this page for the Boeing-Saab T-X are estimated on the part of the author. They will be revised when official specifications of the aircraft are revealed by the manufacturer.
- X-Plane / Developmental
46.42 ft (14.15 m)
32.81 ft (10 m)
13.12 ft (4 m)
7,165 lb (3,250 kg)
12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
808 mph (1,300 kph; 702 kts)
50,000 feet (15,240 m; 9.47 miles)
1,143 miles (1,840 km; 994 nm)
33,500 ft/min (10,211 m/min)
T-7 "Red Hawk" - Base Series Designation.
T-7A - Initial production variant.
T-X - Developmental program designation.