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Tuskegee Airmen's legacy to soar on new Air Force jet

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The Tuskegee Airmen's legacy will take flight once again with the launch of a new Air Force jet.

The Air Force is honoring the famed group of airmen with the naming of its new trainer jet, the Boeing T-7A, The Opelika-Auburn News reported.

Military officials last year chose the T-7A as the next-generation trainer jet for the Air Force. It will be known as the Red Hawk and carry the same red-tail markings.

The all-black Tuskegee aviators broke racial barriers with their courage and aviation skills. They were known as the Red Tails because of the iconic red paint on the tail of their aircraft.

"The name Red Hawk honors the legacy of Tuskegee Airmen and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II," Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan said in making the recent announcement at the 2019 Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference in Maryland.

"The name is also a tribute to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an American fighter aircraft that first flew in 1938 and was flown by the 99th Fighter Squadron, the U.S. Army Air Forces' first African American fighter squadron," he added.

The T-7A will replace Air Education and Training Command's 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons.

The first T-7A aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023.

Other bases that eventually will transition to the new trainer include Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin and Sheppard bases in Texas; and Vance in Oklahoma.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/