Saab Launches Aircraft Fuselage Production At U.S. Plant

Saab delivered the first T-7A aft fuselage to Boeing in April 2021.
Credit: Saab

Saab will launch production of aft fuselage systems for a Boeing advanced trainer at a newly opened plant in West Lafayette, Indiana, under a $71.2 million contract, the Swedish manufacturer said on Aug. 31. 

Saab and Boeing spokespersons said they could not confirm the identity of the aircraft, but both companies had previously discussed Saab’s role in the T-7A Red Hawk program and plans to build the aft fuselage of the advanced trainer in West Lafayette. 

First deliveries to Boeing are scheduled in 2023.

“This order will allow Saab to continue ramping up production and hiring in West Lafayette,” says Erik Smith, Saab president and chief executive officer. 

The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract in September 2019 to develop the T-7A aircraft, flight simulators and other training equipment. Potential orders for 351 T-7As could follow the development phase. 

Congress has not yet approved any procurement funding for the T-7A program. The Air Force’s initial request for $10 million in advanced procurement funding is pending approval by Congress in the fiscal 2023 budget. 

“Boeing is funding Saab in advance of any advanced trainer production,” a Boeing spokeswoman says. 

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.