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T-7A Red Hawk News and Discussion Thread

Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:11 pm

The T-X is now the T-7A Red Hawk in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... irmen.html


Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan announced the name of the jet, known previously as the T-X, on Monday, alongside retired Col. Charles McGee, who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.


"The name, Red Hawk, honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II," Donovan said here during the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

"The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron -- the U.S. Army Air Forces' first African-American fighter squadron," Donovan said.

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Last edited by SQ22 on Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Boeing/Saab T-7A Red Hawk (Former "T-X") News And Discussion Thread

Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:13 pm

USAF has revealed the "T-X" will be known as the "Red Hawk" in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen:

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland -- The U.S. Air Force will call its new trainer the T-7A "Red Hawk."

Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan announced the name of the jet, known previously as the T-X, on Monday, alongside retired Col. Charles McGee, who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

"The name, Red Hawk, honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II," Donovan said here during the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

"The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron -- the U.S. Army Air Forces' first African-American fighter squadron," Donovan said.


Image

Ref: https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... dI.twitter
Ref: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... esignation
Ref: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... -red-hawk/

The program has passed 100 flights with the two prototypes.
Ref: https://twitter.com/BoeingDefense/statu ... 3839664129
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:15 pm

Scooped by 2 minutes, lol!

I will request a merge...
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:45 pm

I like your thread better . . . pretty picture . . .
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:19 pm

 
Reddevil556
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:02 am

Is there a combat variant in the works like the T-38/F-5? I couldn’t find any conclusive sources. If the intent is to bridge the gap to more modern fighters, are other F-35 operators showing interest?
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Ozair
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:12 am

Reddevil556 wrote:
Is there a combat variant in the works like the T-38/F-5?

No actual designs have been shown but an F-T/X, I guess now F/A-7A?, has been suggested by a number of think tanks and there remains the proposal to use the T-7A as an aggressor platform, for which a light attack variant may be a good option.

Reddevil556 wrote:
I couldn’t find any conclusive sources. If the intent is to bridge the gap to more modern fighters, are other F-35 operators showing interest?

Probably a bit early for that. A few current F-35 operators such as Italy and Israel are already using the M-346 while Korea is using the T-50. I could see Australia going for the T-7A in the early 2030s to replace the Hawk, and a few others likely have similar aged hawk fleets. The interesting question will be from nations like Malaysia and Indonesia who use the Hawk currently as both a trainer and light attack aircraft. Moving to the T-7A would make a lot of sense.

Noting a well as large number of NATO nations have their aircrew trained in the US on T-38s so those programs and pilots will move to the T-7A when it arrives.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:29 am

I could see the Pentagon market future F-35 sales with a T-7 package. Also a T-7/F-7 package.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:45 am

Reddevil556 wrote:
I could see the Pentagon market future F-35 sales with a T-7 package.

In this case they would be separate FMS cases for an acquisition given the different programs and different vendors so would be separate DSCA notifications. The Pentagon wouldn’t market these as a “package deal” but let the respective manufacturers makes their offers and then run that through the standard FMS process.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:58 am

There could be incentives if they buy a US fighter and trainer together...is more or less what I was getting at.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:18 am

I see a potential for countries with small airforces and not much in terms of support infrastructure going for the F-7A with the accompanying support package offered by Boeing. If they can roll it in as part of offsets requirement with their national carrier's commercial fleet as well, then there could be benefits for both parties.

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texl1649
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:03 pm

This could also conceivably be the next Thunderbirds jet I would imagine. I realize traditionally they don’t fly trainers but really it would be a waste to utilize F-35’s for that role.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:26 pm

All of these are classy problems for the Boeing/Saab team to have.

The initial need is to replace ~350 USAF trainers, and IMO that's just the first order of many.

I kind of like the idea of a modern A-7 attack plane, though!

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SLUF 2.0:

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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
I kind of like the idea of a modern A-7 attack plane, though!


Would it be FA-7 similar to FA-18?

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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:23 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I kind of like the idea of a modern A-7 attack plane, though!

Would it be FA-7 similar to FA-18?

bt

Probably, because ego demands everything be called a fighter, but I prefer the old school nomenclature.

I also doubt T-7 has all the strength built in to the first pass models to become an attack plane very easily.

Unless it's meant to carry light weight ordinance such as Hellfire, but if you're going to use them, a drone is more suitable.

In short, those getting their hopes up for an attack plane will probably need to wait several years.

Yet these days everyone wants to claim to be the first to think of it, so we get lots of people doing so.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:30 pm

I doubt they would go with the F/A designation. The Hornet started as the A-18, F-18, and TF-18, the F/A was a way to make the Hornet look like more compared to the F-14. The Strike Eagle is not the F/A-15E and the Lightning II is not the F/A-35A. Its pretty much a given these days that all fighters can do both rolls, even if in a limited fashion.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 pm

F/A was a Navy conjecture. Zero chance it’s applied by the USAF. It would be even less likely than the US Navy adopting any of the various Harrier designators from the Royal Navy.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:00 am

That's a mean looking plane. With half the power of a F-18!
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:02 pm

4,300 pounds of thrust less than half.

T-7 MTOW 12,125lbs

Super Hornet MTOW 66,000lbs
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:23 pm

rlwynn wrote:
4,300 pounds of thrust less than half.

T-7 MTOW 12,125lbs

Super Hornet MTOW 66,000lbs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_T- ... ifications says 11,000 lbf for T-7A since it has no afterburner, whereas F18 does.

Is that the distinction we're trying to make?
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:01 pm

Hm, both use the F404 engine. The F-18 has just two of them... and the F-18 doesn't use afterburner a lot.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:43 pm

IIRC, the T-7 does have A/B at 17,000 lbs of thrust. It probably won't be needed for most ops but high and hot it will certainly be necessary and used.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:34 pm

This video looks like afterburners to me: https://youtu.be/zAqzxGyLcQk

I'd be very surprised to see any current aircraft go supersonic without AB.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:01 am

The F-22 does supercruise (supersonic without afterburner), and the F-16N can do it with a clean configuration.

That said, numerous articles have quoted specs for the T-X/T-7A has an afterburning engine, which seem excessive, considering mil power almost matches takeoff weight.

F-16N supercruise: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... ary-hotrod
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:43 am

mxaxai wrote:
I'd be very surprised to see any current aircraft go supersonic without AB.

Lots of aircraft go supersonic without afterburner. The standard procedure is to bunt the airframe. From another forum,
In real world we bunted slightly, got supersonic quickly, then slowly raised nose and zipped along. In the Viper, you could go supersonic at 30K or slightly lower in mil power using that technique, but would fall back subsonic once level. At 40K, you could stay supersonic by bumping in and outta min burner.


It is far worse for fuel use to try and accelerate to supersonic using burner compared to trading altitude for speed and pushing through the transonic region more rapidly. I guarantee you that the F-22 and other “supercruisers” would use, where possible, a bunt instead of simply flying straight and level and plugging the AB on.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:47 am

Ok, it's settled, T-7A has afterburners.

I misunderstood what I read.

I still don't understand the math in #19.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:46 pm

It has 4,300 pounds less than half the thrust of a Super Hornet.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:52 pm

The T-7A has apparently completed high speed low altitude testing.

US Air Force’s New Trainer Plane Completes Low Altitude Tests

Boeing has released a video partly showing the successful completion of “high speed low altitude testing” of the T-7A Red Hawk, the US Air Force’s newest trainer aircraft, which is reportedly due to enter service by 2023.

In the footage, the plane is seen swiftly flying in the sky and air traffic controllers monitoring the flight as one onlooker gives a thumbs-up.

Boeing reported on its Twitter page that during the testing, the plane reached “560 mph/901 kph at just 150 feet/45.7 meters off the ground”.

...

https://sputniknews.com/us/201910161077 ... ner-plane/

A video is available on the Boeing Defense Twitter page.
https://twitter.com/BoeingDefense/statu ... 0164430848
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:06 pm

What a good looking lil' aircraft, this is. Just turned it into my phone's wallpaper.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:35 am

T-7A testing continues including an in-flight engine restart. A 48 second shut down is impressive although I guess the F404 is a well understood engine while the test is really more about the T-7 systems operating correctly.

Boeing progresses Red Hawk flight trials

Boeing has progressed flight trials of the T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer out of its St Louis facility in Missouri, with an in-flight engine restart announced by the company on 27 February.

The test of the single-engined aircraft that the company has developed with Saab saw the General Electric F404 powerplant shutdown for 48 seconds at 20,000 ft, before being restarted. As noted by Boeing, this is a critical safety feature in the event that a pilot has to shut the engine down in an emergency and power it back-up again.

”The test was the latest success for a programme that’s meeting all its critical development milestones,” Boeing said in a statement, adding that more than 160 developmental test flights have been flown to date.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/94589/boe ... ght-trials

Doesn't appear to be any delays at this stage which is good.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue May 05, 2020 10:33 am

With all the things going wrong for Boeing right now good to see this program continues and looks to be moving very well. Testing appears to be going very well with both aircraft flying regularly. No date yet for when the first EMD aircraft will be added to the test fleet.

Boeing ramps-up Red Hawk testing

Boeing has ramped-up flight trials of the T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer, noting its "busiest week ever" on 1 May.

According to the manufacturer, the production representative jets (PRJs) flew 11 engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) test flights out of its St Louis production facility in Missouri.

Developed in partnership with Saab, the Red Hawk was selected under the T-X Advanced Pilot Training Program (ATP) to replace the US Air Force's (USAF's) Northrop T-38 Talon that has been in service since the 1960s.

With two PRJs currently flying, the current EMD phase of the contract covers the five further aircraft and seven simulators. Previously, Boeing's partner, Saab, declined to say when the first EMD aircraft will fly, noting that "this is very sensitive information for the USAF".

The announcement of the ramp-up of EMD flight trials came a month after Boeing and the USAF concluded the critical design review (CDR) for the ground-based elements of the jet trainer. The T-7A Ground Based Training Systems (GBTS) CDR was a five-day conclusion to 18 months of development work on the systems, and its completion paves the way for manufacturing to begin on the ground-based elements of the USAF's aircrew training system.

With the first of 351 aircraft set to be delivered to Randolph Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, in 2023, initial operational capability (IOC) is scheduled for 2024.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/95921/boe ... wk-testing
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue May 05, 2020 7:36 pm

It is good to see it's doing well. With all of the other stuff going on it's not surprising, but I'd like to see Boeing see if they could have played in the SOCOM light attack with an AT-7 as well.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue May 05, 2020 9:41 pm

With such an insanely high thrust to weight ratio I'm very surprised the top speed isn't higher. At 808mph/mach 1.22 Its actually slower than the T-38 and barely faster than the non-afterburning (and FAR heavier) M-346. Even without inlet diverters it should still easily do mach 1.6 or better in AB.

Maybe the weight is actually much higher than the ~12,000 lb MTOW figure being tossed around? Its more likely 20,000+ lbs given the aircraft size compared to similar trainers. Boeing is still pretty mum on official specs. Anyhow, something doesn't add up.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Tue May 05, 2020 10:16 pm

744SPX wrote:
With such an insanely high thrust to weight ratio I'm very surprised the top speed isn't higher. At 808mph/mach 1.22 Its actually slower than the T-38 and barely faster than the non-afterburning (and FAR heavier) M-346. Even without inlet diverters it should still easily do mach 1.6 or better in AB.

Maybe the weight is actually much higher than the ~12,000 lb MTOW figure being tossed around? Its more likely 20,000+ lbs given the aircraft size compared to similar trainers. Boeing is still pretty mum on official specs. Anyhow, something doesn't add up.

The idea is to hit the spec the government wants at the lowest price. This means you don't build in added capability, and if it's there you don't commit to testing the full envelope since all that does is add cost. Since they won the competition I presume they hit the desired spec at the lowest cost.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 12:29 am

Revelation wrote:
744SPX wrote:
With such an insanely high thrust to weight ratio I'm very surprised the top speed isn't higher. At 808mph/mach 1.22 Its actually slower than the T-38 and barely faster than the non-afterburning (and FAR heavier) M-346. Even without inlet diverters it should still easily do mach 1.6 or better in AB.

Maybe the weight is actually much higher than the ~12,000 lb MTOW figure being tossed around? Its more likely 20,000+ lbs given the aircraft size compared to similar trainers. Boeing is still pretty mum on official specs. Anyhow, something doesn't add up.

The idea is to hit the spec the government wants at the lowest price. This means you don't build in added capability, and if it's there you don't commit to testing the full envelope since all that does is add cost. Since they won the competition I presume they hit the desired spec at the lowest cost.

We do know Boeing bid the price so low that it probably overrode or devalued other parts of the evaluation, literally an offer too good to refuse...

I agree though that it is important to factor in what primary role the USAF want to train to and hence what the requirements were written to. Having flown supersonic in a fighter it isn't that much different to non supersonic. What the T-7 does bring is high AoA (which none of the other competitors was able to offer) which is present in the F-22 and F-35 and therefore likely more useful training than high supersonic speeds.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 9:14 am

After listening to the fighter broadcast, I get the sense that having that extra thrust is more than just pure supersonic speed. Heck once you hit Mach 1+, how much "flying" are you actually doing.

The thrust to weight ratio is important in dogfighting maneuvers, so it need to more closely match the current front line fighters.

This will be especially true if you want to use this frame for an aggressor squadron.

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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 9:15 am

Ozair wrote:
Revelation wrote:
744SPX wrote:
With such an insanely high thrust to weight ratio I'm very surprised the top speed isn't higher. At 808mph/mach 1.22 Its actually slower than the T-38 and barely faster than the non-afterburning (and FAR heavier) M-346. Even without inlet diverters it should still easily do mach 1.6 or better in AB.

Maybe the weight is actually much higher than the ~12,000 lb MTOW figure being tossed around? Its more likely 20,000+ lbs given the aircraft size compared to similar trainers. Boeing is still pretty mum on official specs. Anyhow, something doesn't add up.

The idea is to hit the spec the government wants at the lowest price. This means you don't build in added capability, and if it's there you don't commit to testing the full envelope since all that does is add cost. Since they won the competition I presume they hit the desired spec at the lowest cost.

We do know Boeing bid the price so low that it probably overrode or devalued other parts of the evaluation, literally an offer too good to refuse...

I agree though that it is important to factor in what primary role the USAF want to train to and hence what the requirements were written to. Having flown supersonic in a fighter it isn't that much different to non supersonic. What the T-7 does bring is high AoA (which none of the other competitors was able to offer) which is present in the F-22 and F-35 and therefore likely more useful training than high supersonic speeds.


I recall the RFP required a minimum speed, then had 2 or 3 thresholds to gain points for better, the highest was 1.2 mach, so higher than this didn't help.
Similarly, the flight G requirements had minimums, but topped out with the highest threshold not real crazy. After all, it is to train pilots, not have the hottest dogfight performance.

Personally, it seems to be a fighter like the Datsun 240Z of my youth, a really hot car that cost like a Camaro vs a Porsche 911.

Separately, the MQ-25 appears to have been approved to start production per an article in Aviation Week
The U.S. Navy has quietly cleared an important milestone for the MQ-25 Stingray, allowing Boeing to begin production of four engineering development model and three system demonstration test article..
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 6:30 pm

I get that it doesn't make sense to go past mach 1.2 if that's the trainer requirement, but if the T-7 is going to be built in an attack/fighter variant, then it makes a lot of sense to have a top speed competitive with aircraft such as the KAI T-50. and I have a hard time believing that increasing the speed from Mach 1.2 to mach 1.6, for example, would require any airframe changes as the temp rise in that range is minimal.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 7:58 pm

744SPX wrote:
I get that it doesn't make sense to go past mach 1.2 if that's the trainer requirement, but if the T-7 is going to be built in an attack/fighter variant, then it makes a lot of sense to have a top speed competitive with aircraft such as the KAI T-50. and I have a hard time believing that increasing the speed from Mach 1.2 to mach 1.6, for example, would require any airframe changes as the temp rise in that range is minimal.


Let's not forget what previous comments have mentioned: the the T-7 was designed and met the trainer requirements set out for it. If and when it is brought up against and RFP for a light attack aircraft, Boein/Saab can refine the aircraft to meet the requirements as detailed. So if and when the requirement for a L/A aircraft notes speeds of Mach 1.6, I'm sure the engineers can look to address the differences to match.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Wed May 06, 2020 9:33 pm

aumaverick wrote:
744SPX wrote:
I get that it doesn't make sense to go past mach 1.2 if that's the trainer requirement, but if the T-7 is going to be built in an attack/fighter variant, then it makes a lot of sense to have a top speed competitive with aircraft such as the KAI T-50. and I have a hard time believing that increasing the speed from Mach 1.2 to mach 1.6, for example, would require any airframe changes as the temp rise in that range is minimal.


Let's not forget what previous comments have mentioned: the the T-7 was designed and met the trainer requirements set out for it. If and when it is brought up against and RFP for a light attack aircraft, Boein/Saab can refine the aircraft to meet the requirements as detailed. So if and when the requirement for a L/A aircraft notes speeds of Mach 1.6, I'm sure the engineers can look to address the differences to match.

Yep, and anything you add now for the LA role is just going to add weight and cost to the base airframe. It's far better to get the trainer up and running first and get a second bite of the apple via LA contracts.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu May 07, 2020 10:09 am

I doubt you will see an L/A speed requirement of over M1.2. In fact, I'd be surprised if you saw it above M1.0. My guess is the front canopy is the limiting structure. That would be easily changed and wouldn't add too much additional weight. An L/A aircraft just doesn't have the requirement to move at the speed of heat, M1.2 should be plenty and with wing pylons, you certainly wouldn't get very far at above M 1.0.
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bikerthai
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Thu May 07, 2020 3:10 pm

744SPX wrote:
Mach 1.2 to mach 1.6, for example, would require any airframe changes as the temp rise in that range is minimal.


Actually even if the rise in skin temperature may be minimal, there is an inherent transition temperature in both aluminum and epoxy that make crossing that line not advisable. If you cross that line, then you would have to go to titanium and bismalimides, which are much more difficult to manufacture. You end up with something like the F-35 and not a lower cost trainer.

Note that older aluminum skin fighter can alleviate the heating by conducting it to the rest of the frame and fuel tanks. With composite, skins that mechanism is greatly reduced.

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JayinKitsap
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Fri May 08, 2020 1:24 am

Are there a lot of composites on the T-7? I was under the impression that it was nearly all metal? Not sure why, I cannot recall anything definitive.

The T-7 will be the first jet pilots fly and to refresh on. A big selling point is that the glass cockpit and a lot of the control feel can mimic the F-35, F-22, F-15, F-16, and the F-18 as well as the T-7 native. I would assume the native one will be dialed back to be as forgiving as possible to assist the new pilot. The pilots will move on to their specific plane afterwards, which will be where they learn advanced dog fighting and other tactics where the pilot merges with the machine.

Reports are that the T-7 will possibly be in the aggressor squadrons, but it's G limits will keep things reasonably safe. In skiing parlance the T-7 will cover the green, blue, and black runs but one will have to go elsewhere to hit the double diamonds.
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Fri May 08, 2020 12:33 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Are there a lot of composites on the T-7?


Just guessing from a manufacturing stand point.

When you have contours and variable skin thickness, it is more adventageous to use composites. When you have complex geometry, like an I beam, then machining aluminum is simpler.

But when you get into an integrated structure, it becomes a trade to see if it's worth while to go all composite, like the 787/777X wing box.

It really depends in what kind of life cycle and quantity you want from the air frame. More composite = less issue with fatigue. More frames, more money to put into tooling for composite structures.

Not to say that the first few development aircrafts would not have a lot of aluminum, as it is easier to fabricate in a short time. But in the long term, I'm guessing lots of composites in the wings, control surfaces and fuselage. The internal skeletal structure will probably stay metal.

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SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Fri May 08, 2020 8:27 pm

Ozair wrote:
We do know Boeing bid the price so low that it probably overrode or devalued other parts of the evaluation, literally an offer too good to refuse...


I mean there are a number of ways to achieve this, especially while still hitting high-performance targets, the most "conventional" of which and the one Boeing is most likely to do (and being one of the few that could even afford to do this, at least before COVID-19) doesn't even involve any engineering at all: just eat any costs that comes from severely under-bidding in the hopes of greater long-term gain, especially with increased market share, or even just to squeeze out competition entirely.

That said, designing a non-stealthy, somewhat supersonic small trainer isn't too hard. I'm surprised they were able to undercut all competitors since they've already been in service and production for a while, but all of those designs are also designed for significant combat capability; the KA-50 and to a lesser extent the M-346 aren't really designed to be trainers in the first place but rather legitimate fighter-bombers first, THEN trainers second. That requires a bunch of added-in capability that drives up costs in a hurry, even if the KA-50 is almost literally a mini-Viper (in fact in some ways especially so). It seems like Boeing's entry, nee T-7A Red Hawk, was designed to be a low-cost affordable trainer and ONLY as a trainer. That does significant hurt its export potential, but that's a moot issue if Boeing only cares about the USAF contract in the first place. Clearly it majorly paid off.

Also don't underestimate or forget Saab's contribution. Even though it's a standard configuration I have to wonder how much of this thing is really just a Gripen with conventional tail planes and all of the combat capabilities "dummied-out" and then seriously shrunk. That could explain both the rapid design process and its cost-effectiveness (and probably the T2W ratio too).

But also I'd really like to know how the other entries failed the high AoA requirement. That seems pretty basic to me.

JayinKitsap wrote:
Are there a lot of composites on the T-7? I was under the impression that it was nearly all metal? Not sure why, I cannot recall anything definitive.


That really depends on application and specific type.

Materials-wise, composites should be extremely cheap, theoretically. Carbon and Silicon happen to be some of the most abundant periodic elements to exist in some non-gaseous form both on this planet and in the grater universe itself, and the other key ingredient for hydrocarbons, hydrogen, is the most abundant periodic element in the universe period. So it's not because the stuff is rare. Incidentally aluminum, one of the most expensive metals commonly use in mass-manufacturing (and of course also relevant to aerospace), also happens to be the most abundant metal naturally occurring on the parts of the Earth humans can actually get to.

The big issue, at least for now, is manufacturing, but also to a lesser extent actually getting that carbon. Most carbon used for manufacturing is derived from fossil sources which are still at least considered to be cheap and plentiful, but turning a barrel of crude oil into a "carbon-composite" solid structure useful or an engineering application is the really difficult part, as I understand it. Yes, I'm also well aware that I also just described the process for manufacturing plastic goods which are so extremely cheap in some cases it's actually problematic, but what separates "carbon composites" are getting proper molecular alignment that makes it far more durable than most cheap plastic goods and for that matter, most consumer-grade metals. That's a major issue with manufacturing that needs to be overcome.

It should be noted that silicon composites don't really have this issue. Fiberglass fuselages are cheap, or at least no more expensive than all-metal ones, and seem to be giving exceptional service in kit-built and certified aircraft (and also make up many common "composite" components on airliners and supersonic military aircraft, including no doubt the T-7). What would also be a potential game changer is cheap space mining (from asteroids) of pure carbon, which potentially could dramatically decrease carbon composite (and plastic) manufacturing.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Fri May 08, 2020 10:53 pm

There's a lot of answers in the USAF magazine article at https://www.airforcemag.com/boeing-sees ... -aircraft/

Materials:

The T-X will largely be an aluminum airplane, Torgerson told Air Force Magazine, and the only composite structure on the jet will be the nose. A metal airplane is easier to manufacture and easier to repair, he said, and the use of lighter-weight materials wasn’t a requirement as “we didn’t have to squeeze every speck of performance” out of the design, given that it’s not intended to be a front-line combat airplane. Even so, the T-X is described as having the ability to pull more than 8Gs.

Workshare:

While he would not give too much detail about the workshare between the companies, Torgerson said that, broadly, Saab will build the rear fuselage, starting at a “break point” immediately behind the tandem cockpit. Boeing will build the wings, empennage, and the forward portion of the T-X.

Market:

Boeing sees a potential market for up to 2,600 of the T-X advanced trainers in variants ranging from trainer to light strike and light fighter, said William Torgerson, senior director of T-X program integration at the company.

That includes the “up to 475” jets the Air Force asked for in the T-X competition, which focused only on the trainer mission and not variants for other USAF missions now or previously performed by the 60-year-old T-38, which the T-X will replace, Torgerson said. Those missions have also included Aggressors and companion trainers.

So even though it's a mostly aluminum airplane, Boeing sees a role for it in the light strike, light fighter and aggressor markets.

And, of course they do.

It might not be the optimal vehicle for those things, but they will be made in high volume so will have tremendous pricing advantages.
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Fri May 08, 2020 11:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
There's a lot of answers in the USAF magazine article at https://www.airforcemag.com/boeing-sees ... -aircraft/

Materials:

The T-X will largely be an aluminum airplane, Torgerson told Air Force Magazine, and the only composite structure on the jet will be the nose. A metal airplane is easier to manufacture and easier to repair, he said, and the use of lighter-weight materials wasn’t a requirement as “we didn’t have to squeeze every speck of performance” out of the design, given that it’s not intended to be a front-line combat airplane. Even so, the T-X is described as having the ability to pull more than 8Gs.


That doesn't make alot of sense because one of the driving forces behind using plastic and fiberglass components is because they're super-easy to manufacture and repair (or replace). Certain parts like stationary (and even moving) leading edges or panels are very convenient to pop out in plastic or fiberglass form.
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bikerthai
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Sat May 09, 2020 12:06 am

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
plastic and fiberglass components is because they're super-easy to manufacture and repair


If you talk to airlines, they would tell you otherwise. Honeycomb composite require curing to repair, which takes time. That is why the 787 was sold as needing only fastened patch for repair similar to metal.

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JayinKitsap
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Sat May 09, 2020 9:50 am

Some T-7A articles that have some added info. I'm surprised how little is know of this plane yet.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthomp ... 6472795f7c

https://www.boeing.com/defense/t-7a/

An article in Air Force Magazine where it announced passing its CDR. The T-7A part is a number of pages down in it.

The Ground-Based Training System that goes with the T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer has passed its Critical Design Review (CDR), concluding 18 months of development work and paving the way for fabrication of simulators and other devices, Boeing announced April 3.


https://www.airforcemag.com/article/world-9/
 
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Re: T-X becomes T-7A Red Hawk

Sat May 09, 2020 5:08 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
Some T-7A articles that have some added info. I'm surprised how little is know of this plane yet.

Yes, I noticed this as well.

In "the good old days" we would have big write ups in aviation magazines with cross section views, lots of stuff to chew on.

These days we get glossy web sites with high level bullet points and not much else.

I wonder if this is because (a) the aviation publications have cut back to the point they don't have resources to get this level of detail or (b) the vendors have decided it's not in their best interest to give out that level of detail or (c) both or (d) something else?
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