First Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer joined with its aft section

Boeing T-7A Red Hawk aircraft mechanic examines the surface of the first spliced advanced trainer being produced in St. Louis ©Boeing

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

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 km) 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 test, is the first engineering and manufacturing development test asset to be spliced. It 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.

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