Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Boeing announced Tuesday that it has begun production of the T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer jet.
The jet was fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems developed at Boeing during the last 20 years, Boeing said in a press release.
The new aircraft employed the same digital engineering and design of the Boeing T-X aircraft, which went from firm concept to first flight in 36 months, company officials said.
"This is a historic moment for the program and industry," Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president of T-7 Programs, said in the release.
"The build process leverages full-size determinant assembly, which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality," Dabundo said.
Dabundo also told reporters Tuesday that Boeing is talking with the Navy about the Red Hawk replacing the service's T-45 Goshawk jet trainer.
In September 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing $9.2 billion to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 associated ground-based training simulators to the service.
Saab has partnered with Boeing to provide the aft fuselage for the trainer.