Saab has delivered the third aft airframe section to Boeing for the test programme of the US Air Force’s (USAF) T-7A Red advanced pilot training system.

The aft airframe section was shipped from Saab’s Linköping site in Sweden to Boeing’s facility in St Louis, Missouri, US.

Saab delivered T-7A’s first aft airframe section to Boeing in April this year while the second was handed over in July.

The latest production shipment is a major milestone in the T-7A programme’s engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

Upon completion of the EMD production phase, Saab’s new West Lafayette facility in Indiana will undertake production of the T-7A programme’s aft airframe sections.

Saab Aeronautics business area senior vice-president and head Jonas Hjelm said: “This delivery shows we are committed to our plan and the solid progress achieved towards completing our EMD schedule.

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“This airframe will be part of the first T-7A to fly and is another step towards the start of production in our brand-new state of the art facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.”

Boeing commenced the production of the T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer in February.

To complete the jet and allow it to be used in the EMD flight test programme, Boeing will join aft with the front section, wings, fins, and then continue with tail assembly.

The aft section includes installed subsystems such as hydraulics, fuel and secondary power system.

It forms the centre structure of the advanced jet trainer from behind the cockpit to the end of the jet trainer.

Designated eT-7A by the USAF, the Red Hawk training jet is fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems.

The jet is an advanced pilot training system being offered to the USAF by Boeing in partnership with Saab.

It will be used to train the next generation of combat pilots.

Boeing noted that the T-7A Red Hawk jet employed the company’s T-X aircraft’s digital engineering and design.