Beechcraft T-6 Texan II

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For the similarly named World War II-era aircraft, see North American T-6 Texan.
T-6 Texan II
T-6A Texan II.jpg
A USAF T-6A Texan II flying from Randolph Air Force Base.
Role Trainer aircraft
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Raytheon Aircraft Company
First flight 2000
Introduction 2001
Status In production
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Navy
Royal Canadian Air Force
Hellenic Air Force
Produced 2000–present
Number built 636
Developed from Pilatus PC-9

The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engined turboprop aircraft built by the Raytheon Aircraft Company (which became Hawker Beechcraft and is now Beechcraft Corporation). Based on the Pilatus PC-9, the T-6A 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. The T-6B is used as the primary trainer for Student Naval Aviators. The T-6 has replaced the Air Force's Cessna 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 Greek Air Force, the Israeli Air Force (Efroni), and the Iraqi Air Force. The T-6C is used for training by the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the Mexican Air Force. The Royal New Zealand Air Force will also begin operating the type in 2015.

Design and development[edit]

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.[1] 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 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.[2]

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.[3]

Operational history[edit]

United States[edit]

US Navy T-6B Texan IIs based at NAS Whiting Field

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.[4]

The T-6A also replaced all T-34Cs with Training Air Wing Six at Naval Air Station Pensacola in early 2005. T-6Bs have replaced all T-34Cs as the primary trainer with Training Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field.[5] Training Air Wing Four at NAS Corpus Christi will continue to operate the T-34C as the primary trainer, with the arrival of their first T-6B in 2012.[5]

An original, World War II-era T-6A Texan aircraft, right, with the new T-6 Texan II at Randolph Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, in 2007

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.[6] 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."[7] In 2013, Beechcraft was once again the loser.[8]


The CT-156 Harvard II is a variant used for pilot instruction in the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC),[9] located at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.[10] 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 2 and 3 of the training program, and some will go on to fly the CT-155 Hawk jet trainer also used by NFTC for Phase 4 (Moose Jaw) and Phase 5 Fighter Lead-In Training (4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta). NFTC had 25 Harvard II aircraft owned and maintained by Bombardier, although one was recently lost following a non-fatal crash.[11]


The Hellenic Air Force operates 25 T-6A and 20 T-6A NTA aircraft.[12][13]


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.[14][15] In July 2009, Beechcraft delivered the first four of 20 T-6As under contract to the Israeli Air Force.[16]


On 16 December 2009, the first four 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 eight aircraft, purchased by the Government of Iraq, will arrive at Tikrit by the end of January 2010. The last seven, purchased by the United States, are expected by the end of December 2010.[17]

On 13 May 2014, the US State Department approved an order for 24 T-6C aircraft for use as trainers by the Iraqi Air Force. The sale was worth US$790 million and was part of a larger one billion dollar deal.[18]


On 9 January 2012, Mexico purchased six T-6C+ aircraft for the Mexican Air Force to begin replacing their Pilatus PC-7 trainers.[19] On 24 October 2013, Hawker Beechcraft announced a follow-on order of an additional six T-6C+ aircraft for the Mexican Air Force, bringing the total ordered to 12.[20] The Mexican Navy also ordered two T-6C+ Trainers in March 2014.[21]


In October 2009, Hawker Beechcraft announced the sale of 24 T-6Cs for the Royal Moroccan Air Force.[22]

New Zealand[edit]

The New Zealand Government announced the purchase of 11 T-6Cs for the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 27 January 2014. Deliveries will begin in 2015, and the first training course using the type is scheduled for early 2016.[23][24] The T-6Cs are expected to remain in service with the RNZAF for 30 years.[24] No. 14 Squadron will be re-formed to operate the T-6Cs.[23]

United Kingdom[edit]

On 24 October 2014, the UK Ministry of Defence announced its preferred bidder for the UK Military Flying Training System programme. Affinity's system will involve T-6C Texan IIs in the basic trainer role for both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots.[25]


A CT-156 Harvard II at CFB Moose Jaw in 2005
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.[13]
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),[26] used at Naval Air Station Whiting Field and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
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.[13][27] Engine power is increased to 1,600 shp (1193 kW) with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-68D engine, and the structure is reinforced.[28]
T-6C Texan II 
Upgraded version of the T-6B with wing hard points, and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities.[29]
CT-156 Harvard II 
Version of the T-6A for NTFC with the Canadian Forces.[10] Nearly identical to standard USAF and USN in terms of avionics, cockpit layout, and performance.


A Hellenic Air Force T-6A Texan II during CIAF in Brno
An Iraqi Air Force T-6A Texan II
A RMAF's T-6C Texan II during Marrakech Air Show
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
 United States

Specifications (T-6A)[edit]

Data from Global Security,[36] USAF[37] and USN[38]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 5 in (10.19 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
  • Wing area: 177.5 sq ft (16.49 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.29:1
  • Empty weight: 4,707 lb (2,135 kg)
  • Gross weight: 6,300 lb (2,858 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,500 lb (2,948 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 149.0 Imp gal (677.5 liters, 1200lbs)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop, 1,100 shp (820 kW)
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Hartzell Propeller


  • Cruise speed: 320 mph (278 kn; 515 km/h)
  • Never exceed speed: 364 mph (316 kn; 586 km/h)
  • Range: 1,036 mi; 1,667 km (900 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 31,000 ft (9,449 m)
  • G limits: +7.0g -3.5g

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ "T-6 is not a PC-9", Military (PDF), Hawker Beechcraft, archived from the original on 2008-03-09 
  2. ^ "Strapping in and Bailing out, Navy and Air Force Joint Acquisition of Aircraft", AF research 
  3. ^ "Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports", Deagel, 2007 
  4. ^ USAF (n.d.). "80th Flying Training Wing". Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Mail mix-up makes Hawker Beechcraft miss protest deadline for USAF contract; appeal filed in federal court." Flight Global, 27 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Smaller US Air Force Programs - The Dead and the Dying" Air International, February 2012, p. 12, ISSN 0306-5634
  8. ^ "USAF Determined on Super-Tucano for Afghanistan Even at Higher Cost."
  9. ^ Bombardier Military Aerospace Training (November 2011). "NFTC The Concept". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  10. ^ a b c Department of National Defence Public Affairs (March 2007). "CT-156 Harvard II". Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Department of National Defence Public Affairs (March 2007). "CT-156 Harvard II Specs". Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Amynanet (n.d.). ">ΑΜΥΝΑ & ΔΙΠΛΩΜΑΤΙΑ 18. Εκπαιδευτικά αεροσκάφη". Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  13. ^ a b c Bertorelli, Paul (October 2009). "NBAA 2009 Video Series: Hawker Beechcraft's Turboprop Attack Aircraft". Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  14. ^ "Israel Requests Delivery of 25 U.S. T-6A Texan II Trainers". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ Egozi, Arie. "Israel receives first four T-6A 'Efroni' trainers". Flight International, 13 July 2009.
  17. ^ Defense Industry Daily, The Penny Drops: Iraq Chooses its Training & COIN Aircraft
  18. ^ "US OKs Nearly $1 Billion Deal With Iraq". 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  19. ^ Hawker Beechcraft Signs Contract with Mexican Air Force for Six T-6C+ Trainers
  20. ^ a b "Mexico’s T-6C+ Turboprop Planes: SIVA’s 1st Counterpart". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  21. ^ "Mexican Navy Places Initial Order for Beechcraft T-6C+ Trainers". Textron Aviation. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  22. ^ a b Hawker Beechcraft sells 24 trainers to Morocco
  23. ^ a b "New Zealand signs T-6C trainer deal". Flight International. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Coleman, Jonathan (27 January 2014). "New pilot training capability contract awarded". Media release. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c Air-Britain News: NOV.1711. November 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 for Turboprop and Jet Trainers Article
  27. ^ Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (n.d.). "Beechcraft AT-6". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  28. ^ Light Attack - Affordable. Capable. Sustainable
  29. ^ "GTRI helps transform a T-6 trainer into a light attack aircraft." Georgia Institute of Technology, June 15, 2012.
  30. ^ "The Penny Drops: Iraq Chooses its COIN Aircraft". Defense Industry Daily. August 12, 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  31. ^ Flightglobal World Air Forces – December 2009
  32. ^ "Mexico compra en EU aviones militares para practicas". Notimex (in Spanish). 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  33. ^ "Mexico’s T-6C+ Turboprop Planes: SIVA’s 1st Counterpart". 24 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "Mexican Navy Places Initial Order for Beechcraft T-6C+ Trainers". April 3, 2014. 
  35. ^ "NZ orders Beech T-6C trainers and sims". Australian Aviation. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  36. ^ T-6A JPATS Texan II/Harvard II
  37. ^ USAF Fact sheet T-6A Texan II
  38. ^ NATOPS Flight Manual T-6A, NAVY (NAVAIR) A1-T6AAA-NFM-100, Change 5, 15 June 2010

External links[edit]