Steve “Bull” Schmidt, Boeing’s chief test pilot for the T-7A, said the company has moved the aircraft’s flight speed limit to near the supersonic threshold and that he expects the company to get its first advanced pilot trainer aircraft within a year.
Schmidt noted APT1 and APT2 will serve as instrumented test aircraft, while a third jet will accommodate mission system tests. He said the company will kick off air-start testing with plans to perform an average of five flights a week.
Boeing has developed T1 and T2 planes and plans to demonstrate test requirements in order for the Air Force to accept the aircraft. Schmidt said the company started the engineering and manufacturing development phase for the T-7A program in June.
Boeing and Saab are working to develop and produce up to 475 trainer aircraft and 120 ground-based training platforms under a potential $9.2B contract awarded in September 2018.