First Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk Joined in Record Time

(16 May 2021)
In a historic moment, the front fuselage of the
first Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer was
joined perfectly with its aft section in less than 30 minutes, a
testament to the digital heritage of the U.S. Air Force’s first “eSeries”
aircraft and witness to the benefits of model-based engineering
and 3D design.

The digital splice was completed in 95% less time
than traditional splices and with substantial quality
improvements.


“This moment marks a key stage in the evolution of
the T-7A Red Hawk,” said Chuck Dabundo, vice president and program
manager of Boeing T-7 programs. “Employing digitally advanced
manufacturing and build techniques developed by Boeing over the
past two decades, we are bringing this trainer to future pilots
sooner than ever before possible and with greater quality.”

The aft fuselage was designed and built by Saab in
Linköping, Sweden, under a joint development agreement with
Boeing.

After making the journey of more than 4,500 miles (7,200
kilometers) to St. Louis, the aft section was lined up perfectly
to the forward fuselage by Boeing aircraft mechanics.

The aircraft, which will be used for static tests,
is the first engineering and manufacturing development test asset
to be spliced.

The aircraft will be followed by five engineering and
manufacturing development jets as part of 351 T-7A Red Hawk
trainers to be produced for the U.S. Air Force.

“What we’re seeing in this new evolution of
digitally designed, engineered and manufactured aircraft is a 50%
improvement in overall production quality and as much as a 98%
reduction in drilling defects,” said Andrew Stark, Boeing T-7A Red
Hawk production director. “It’s a new way of producing airplanes
with improved quality throughout the whole journey.”

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