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Defense Innovation In Practice / Aircraft Development: What Does Happen When High-Tech Systems Are Combined With Low-Tech Airframes..? Case Study: Beechcraft T-6 Texan II

T-6 Texan II

(Source of Photos: http:/newsroom.hawkerbeechcraft.com / T-6 Texan II /)

T-6 Texan II

 

The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II

  • The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engined turboprop aircraft built by the Raytheon Aircraft Company (now Hawker Beechcraft). Based on the Pilatus PC-9, the T-6 is used by the United States Air Force for basic pilot training and by the United States Navy for Primary and Intermediate Joint Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and Air Force Combat Systems Officer (CSO) training. It has replaced the Air Force’s T-37B Tweet and is replacing the Navy’s T-34C Turbo Mentor. The T-6A is also used as a basic trainer by the Royal Canadian Air Force (CT-156 Harvard II), the Luftwaffe of Germany, the Greek Air Force, the Israeli Air Force (Efroni), and the Iraqi Air Force. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

Beechcraft T-6 Texan II: Design And Development…

  • The T-6 is a development of the Pilatus PC-9, modified significantly by Beechcraft in order to enter the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) competition in the 1990s. A similar arrangement between Pilatus and British Aerospace had also been in place for a Royal Air Force competition in the 1980s, although this competition selected the Short Tucano. The aircraft was designated under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system and named for the decades-earlier T-6 Texan.
  • The Beechcraft brand has since been purchased from Raytheon by Onex Corporation a Canadian “private equity fund” which retained the name Hawker Beechcraft. / T-6 Texan II /

  • The JPATS competition winning design was based on a commercial off the shelf Pilatus PC-9, with minor modifications. Additional requirements and conflicts between the Air Force and the Navy resulted in delays, cost increases (from initial estimates of $3.9 to roughly $6 million per aircraft) and a completely new aircraft that is 22% or 1,100 lbs heavier than the Pilatus.
  • On April 9, 2007 the U.S. Department of Defense released their Selected Acquisition Reports, which reported that the T-6 JPATS program was one of only eight programs cited for Congressional notification for 25-50% cost overrun over initial estimates, which is referred to as a “Nunn-McCurdy Breach” after the Nunn-McCurdy Amendment. It is unusual for a program so far into full rate production to experience significant enough cost overruns to trigger this Congressional notification. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

Beechcraft T-6 Texan II:  Operational History…

  • United States: The T-6A was introduced to Moody Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base in 2000-2001, and the Air Force awarded the full rate T-6 production contract in December 2001. Laughlin Air Force Base began flying the T-6 in 2003 where it is now the primary basic trainer, replacing the T-37. Vance Air Force Base completed transitioning from the T-37 to the T-6 in 2006. That year, Columbus Air Force Base began its transition, and retired its last T-37 in April 2008. The last active USAF T-37Bs were retired at Sheppard Air Force Base in the Summer of 2009. / T-6 Texan II /
  • The T-6A also replaced all T-34Cs with Training Air Wing SIX at Naval Air Station Pensacola in early 2005. T-6Bs began replacing T-34Cs as the primary trainer with Training Air Wing FIVE at NAS Whiting Field in the late summer of 2009 and as of 2012 the transition is complete. Training Air Wing FOUR at NAS Corpus Christi will continue to operate the T-34C as the primary trainer, with the arrival of the T-6B scheduled for that location in 2012. On 18 May 2010 Training Wing 5 had the first training flight of a T-6B. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

  • The Texan failed to qualify for the Light Attack / Armed Reconnaissance program, because the USAF mailed the exclusion notice to the wrong address, leaving the company with no time to protest the decision. But the official mail failure gave Hawker-Beechcraft a further legal justification, as they had told the USAF they planned to file a legal challenge even before the official notice had been mailed and brought its considerable political influence to bear against the USAF decision against their candidate with one Kansas Congressman stating “It is simply wrong for the Obama administration to hire a Brazilian company to handle national security when we have a qualified and competent American company that can do the job.” / T-6 Texan II /
  • Canada: The CT-156 Harvard II is a variant used for pilot instruction in the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC)., located at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  They are leased to the Royal Canadian Air Force by the program’s administrator, Bombardier. NFTC’s Harvard II aircraft are almost identical in cockpit layout and performance to the American JPATS Texan IIs. Within NFTC, students fly the Harvard II in Phase 2A and 2B of the training program, and some will go on to fly the CT-155 Hawk jet trainer also used by NFTC for Phase 3 (Moose Jaw) and Phase 4 Fighter Lead-In Training (4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta). The NFTC has 25 Harvard II aircraft owned and maintained by Bombardier.

T-6 Texan II

  • Greece: The Hellenic Air Force operates 25 T-6A and 20 T-6A NTA aircraft.
  • Israel:  On 9 June 2008, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced a possible FMS sale to Israel of 25 T-6As for the Israeli Air Force.[15][16] In July 2009, Beechcraft delivered the first four of 20 T-6As under contract to the Israeli Air Force.
  • Iraq: On 16 December 2009: The first 4 of 15 T-6A aircraft are delivered to Iraq under a $210 million contract. No AT-6 aircraft were included as was previously reported. This equates to an average of $14 million per aircraft with support and training included. The first 8 aircraft, purchased by the Government of Iraq, will arrive at Tikrit by the end of January 2010. The last 7, purchased by the United States, are expected by the end of December 2010. / T-6 Texan II /
  • Mexico: On 9 January 2012 Hawker Beechcraft announced the sale of six T-6C+ aircraft to the Mexican Air Force to be delivered starting early 2012 and replacing the PC-7 trainers used by the FAM.
  • Morocco: In October 2009, Hawker Beechcraft announced the sale of 24 T-6Cs for the Royal Moroccan Air Force. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

Beechcraft T-6 Texan II:  Variants…

  • T-6A Texan II: Standard version for the USAF, USN, and Hellenic Air Force (25).
  • T-6A NTA Texan II: Armed version of the T-6A for the HAF (20). T-6A NTA has the capability to carry rocket pods, gun pods, external fuel tanks, and bombs.
  • T-6B Texan II: Upgraded version of the T-6A with a digital glass cockpit that includes a Head-Up Display (HUD), six multi-function displays (MFD) and Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS). / T-6 Texan II /
  • AT-6B Texan II:  Armed version of the T-6B for primary weapons training or light attack roles. It has the same digital cockpit, but upgraded to include datalink and integrated electro-optical sensors along with several weapons configurations.  Engine power is increased to 1,600 hp and the structure is reinforced.
  • T-6C Texan II: Upgraded version of the T-6B with wing hard points.
  • CT-156 Harvard II:  Version of the T-6A for NTFC with the Canadian Forces.  It is nearly identical to standard USAF and USN in terms of avionics, cockpit layout, and performance. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

Beechcraft T-6 Texan II: Highlights…

  • October 14th, 2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) — Test pilots and engineers here are learning what happens when high-tech systems are combined with low-tech airframes for a new, cost effective, light-attack aircraft. Light attack, a revitalized concept in the Air Force, addresses the need for an airplane that offers surveillance as well as strike capabilities and walks the line between remotely piloted aircraft and high-performance fighters. In appearance, Hawker Beechcraft AT-6Cs resemble the fighters of yesteryear with single engine propellers and shark-face nose art. They are, in actuality, one possible candidate for Air Force light attack aircraft and the latest project for Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center officials based at Tucson International Airport. Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, a developmental test pilot and director of engineering for AATC, deployed to Iraq in early 2008, where he flew numerous close air support missions in F-16 Fighting Falcons. / T-6 Texan II /
  • During more than 100 combat hours, he served as an eye in the sky for Army elements but he said he rarely engaged the enemy on their behalf. “Right now we are paying a high cost to fly an F-16 in terms of fuel and wear and tear for missions that don’t require the full capabilities of the airplane,” said Colonel Colmer, who leads AATC’s light-attack program. “With fourth generation fighters nearing the end of their service life, a light-attack platform could take on these kinds of missions and lighten the load.” The test center, which conducts operational tests on behalf of the Reserve, is manned by a team of active-duty, Guard, Reserve, civilian and contractor members who field low-cost, low-risk, off-the-shelf improvements for aircraft and weapons systems. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

  • September 15th, 2009 — Hawker Beechcraft Corporation  and Lockheed Martin have teamed to compete for the opportunity to provide a low-cost, low-risk solution to address U.S. Air Force (USAF) needs for a Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. The USAF is expected to launch an acquisition program in fiscal year 2010. HBC, based in Wichita, Kan., will be prime contractor, and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY, will be the mission systems integrator for the AT-6 LAAR aircraft. The AT 6 will be a product of the combined heritage and expertise of the team, leveraging the existing worldwide fleet of Hawker Beechcraft T 6 aircraft that recently passed the one million flying hour milestone, with the proven missions’ systems integration expertise of Lockheed Martin. / T-6 Texan II /

T-6 Texan II

 

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