Beechcraft T-6 Texan II

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T-6 Texan II
A USAF T-6A Texan II out of Randolph Air Force Base
Role Trainer aircraft
Manufacturer Raytheon Aircraft Company Hawker Beechcraft
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Navy
Canadian Forces
Hellenic Air Force
Produced 435+
Developed from Pilatus PC-9

The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engined turboprop aircraft built by the Raytheon Aircraft Company (now Hawker Beechcraft).

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 Canadian Forces (CT-156 Harvard II), the Luftwaffe of Germany, the Greek Air Force, the Israeli Air Force (Efroni), and the Iraqi Air Force.

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.[2] 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.

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.

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.

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

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 the installation will operate both aircraft as it transitions over the next few years. 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.


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.[9] They are leased to the Canadian Forces Air Command by the program’s administrator, Bombardier. Cockpit layout, ejection protocols, and performance mimic the CT-155 Hawk jet trainer also used by the NFTC. The NFTC has 25 Harvard II aircraft owned and maintained by Bombardier.


The Hellenic Air Force operates 25 T-6A and 20 T-6A NTA aircraft.


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


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.


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


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.
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).
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. Cockpit layout based on that of the CT-155 Hawk.


A Hellenic Air Force T-6A Texan II during CIAF in Brno

An Iraqi Air Force T-6A Texan II
  • Canadian Forces
    • 2 CFFTS, CFB Moose Jaw
  • Luftwaffe (used for pilot training in the U.S. with USAF markings)
  • Hellenic Air Force
  • Israeli Air Force
  • Iraqi Air Force 15 T-6As on order
  • Royal Moroccan Air Force 24 T-6Cs on order
United States
  • United States Air Force
    • Air Education and Training Command
      • 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
        • 559th Flying Training Squadron
        • 455th Flying Training Squadron, NAS Pensacola, Florida
      • 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi
        • 37th Flying Training Squadron
        • 41st Flying Training Squadron
      • 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas
        • 84th Flying Training Squadron
        • 85th Flying Training Squadron
      • 71st Flying Training Wing, Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma
        • 8th Flying Training Squadron
        • 33d Flying Training Squadron
      • 80th Flying Training Wing, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
        • 89th Flying Training Squadron
    • Air Force Reserve Command
      • 340th Flying Training Group
        • 5th Flying Training Squadron, Vance AFB, Oklahoma
        • 43d Flying Training Squadron, Columbus AFB, Mississippi
        • 96th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin AFB, Texas
        • 97th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas
        • 100th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas
  • United States Navy / United States Marine Corps
    • Naval Air Training Command
      • Training Air Wing Six, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida
        • Training Squadron 4, NAS Pensacola
        • Training Squadron 10, NAS Pensacola
      • Training Air Wing Five, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida
        • Training Squadron 3, NAS Whiting Field North

Accidents and incidents

  • Two Columbus Air Force Base T-6 Texan II primary trainers collided about 12:47 p.m. Nov. 28, 2007 near the Columbus AFB Auxiliary airfield in Shuqualak, Miss. (Gunshy Auxiliary Airfield) At the time of the accident, the aircraft were conducting flight training operations. On-scene emergency response located and confirmed all four pilots had parachuted safely. The Accident Investigation Board determined that pilot error was the cause of the mishap.
  • September 24, 2010 A Laughlin AFB T-6 Texan II crew ejected when the engine of their T-6 failed. The aircraft crashed on a ranch 25 miles (40 km) east of Laughlin near the town of Spofford, Texas. The crew survived with minor injuries to the instructor pilot and a serious back injury to the student pilot. The aircraft was destroyed. The accident was the first USAF T-6 crash of 2010 and the sixth overall for the fleet. The Air Force determined the accident was the result of pilot error. The aircraft’s instructor pilot accidentally shut down the engine, then applied incorrect airstart procedures, resulting in catastrophic damage to the engine.

Specifications (T-6A)

Data from Global Security and USAF

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)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.29:1
  • Empty weight: 4,707 lb (2,135 kg)
  • Gross weight: 6,300 lb (2,858 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 149.0 Imp gal (677.5 liters)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop, 1,100 shp (820 kW)
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Hartzell


  • Maximum speed: 364 mph; 585 km/h (316 kn)
  • Range: 1,036 mi; 1,667 km (900 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 31,000 ft (9,449 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,100 ft/min (16 m/s)
  • Time to altitude: 18000 feet in 6 minutes

See also

Related development

  • Pilatus PC-9

Comparable aircraft

  • Aermacchi M-290 RediGO
  • Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
  • KAI KT-1
  • PZL-130 Orlik
  • Short Tucano
  • T-37 Tweet
  • TAI Hürkuş
  • Utva Lasta


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  3. Biz Yahoo Onex Acquires Hawker Beechcraft Article[dead link]
  4. Strapping in and Bailing out, Navy and Air Force Joint Acquisition of Aircraft
  5. Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports, 2007
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  8. First Student Takes Flight in T-6
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  10. Department of National Defence Public Affairs (March 2007). “CT-156 Harvard II Specs”. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  11. Amynanet (undated). “>ΑΜΥΝΑ & ΔΙΠΛΩΜΑΤΙΑ 18. Εκπαιδευτικά αεροσκάφη”. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
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  15. Egozi, Arie. “Israel receives first four T-6A ‘Efroni’ trainers”. Flight International, 13 July 2009.Defense Industry Daily, The Penny Drops: Iraq Chooses its Training & COIN Aircraft
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  19. Light Attack – Affordable. Capable. Sustainable
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  23. USAF (undated). “Executive Summary Accident Investigation Board T-6A”. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  24. T-6A Texan crashes near Laughlin
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External links