The Newest Air Force Training Aircraft Honors The Tuskegee Airmen
The United States Air Force recently held a ceremony to announce the name of their new T-7A Fighter Trainer jet. It will be called the T-7A Red Hawk. This new fighter trainer jet will replace the T-38 Talon that has served as the training jet for Air Force pilots for some time.
This new T-7A trainer jet is designed to train the Air Force’s future pilots to fly the fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 and F-35. The acting Secretary of the Air Force, Matthew Donovan, introduced the new trainer saying, “The Red Hawk offers advanced capabilities for training tomorrow’s pilots on data link, simulated radar, smart weapons, defensive management systems, as well as synthetic training capabilities.”
This new configuration of systems in the T-7A Red Hawk trainer jet will get those future pilots ready for the upgraded technologies and flying abilities of our latest fighter jets.
The “Red Hawk” appellation for this new Air Force trainer jet is designed to honor both the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII fame, but also to honor the most famous of WWII fighters, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk that was flown by the Tuskegee Airmen and by many of the allied forces during that war.
The Tuskegee Airmen made up four segregated fighter squadrons for the 332nd Fighter Group during WWII. They are trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama and formed the 99th, the 100th, the 301st and 302nd Fighter squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group. The Tuskegee Airmen included the pilots and ground crews, mechanics, etc. that flew, armed and maintained the P-40 Warhawks. Their fame as pilots was hard fought for during those segregated days. But in time they proved to be superior pilots flying fighter support for the large B-17 bombers on their raids over much of the southern and eastern European Theater.
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They were so good that the pilots of those bombing missions began to specifically request the “Red Tails” as their escorts on those notoriously dangerous bombing missions. They were called the “Red Tails” because they had taken to painting the tails of their P-40s a bright red. They were distinctive with that bold marking and even more so with their fighter pilot skills.
That distinctive marking on the tails of the Tuskegee Airmen’s fighters is going to be remembered both in the name of this new fighter trainer, The “Red Hawk,” and because the tails of the T-7A’s are also going to be painted red to honor the memory of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The “Hawk” part of the new trainer jet’s name is intended to honor the memory of the P-40 Warhawk fighter planes of WWII. Some 13,000 Curtiss P-40s were built and flown in battle not only by the Tuskegee Airmen, but by many other allied air forces during the early years of WWII. It was a sturdy, fast and powerful fighter and very maneuverable, but it would become obsolete by the ever advancing technologies during that war. It would eventually be replaced in the Army Air Force arsenal and in the Tuskegee Airmen fighter squadrons by the P-51 Mustang.
The T-7A Red Hawk is slated to go into service in 2023.
In attendance at the naming ceremony was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Col. Charles McGee. McGee is a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Over his career he was awarded 2 Legions of Merit, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and 25 Air Medals. He has also been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
We at the Veterans Site are thrilled to see the Tuskegee Airmen and the P-40 Warhawk honored in the name of the Air Force’s new fighter trainer jet. Those pilots trained in her will honor those memories by becoming some of the best fighter pilots in the world.
We pray for the success of the T-7A Red Hawk and the United States Air Force’s future pilots who will be trained in this new fighter trainer.