T-6 Texan II

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T-6 Texan II

A USAF T-6A Texan II out of Randolph Air Force Base


Trainer aircraft


Raytheon Aircraft Company
Hawker Beechcraft

Primary users

United States Air Force
United States Navy
Canadian Forces
Hellenic Air Force



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). It 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 Navigator / Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) training. It is replacing the Air Force’s T-37B Tweet and 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) and the Greek 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. A similar arrangement between Pilatus and British Aerospace had also been in place for an Royal Air Force competition in the 1980s, although this competition selected the Shorts 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 as Hawker Beechcraft.

The Texan II is built by Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, Kansas. Although the design is heavily based on the Pilatus PC-9, the T-6 is a complete redesign from the ground up, and is considerably more sophisticated and powerful.

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

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, having completely replaced the venerable 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 will retire its last T-37 in April 2008. T-37s are still in service at Sheppard Air Force Base, and are expected to retire in 2008.

The T-6A also replaced all T-34s at Naval Air Station Pensacola in early 2005. T-34s are still in service at NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Whiting Field as the primary trainer.

One Texan II costs approximately 6 million dollars. Almost a quarter of this cost goes into two advanced, highly reliable Martin-Baker ejection seats, which have the capability for zero-zero ejection.


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


A CT-156 Harvard II at CFB Moose Jaw in 2005

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 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 NTFC. The NFTC has 24 Harvard II aircraft owned and maintained by Bombardier.


On 9 December 2008, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced a possible sale to Iraq of 20 T-6As and 36 AT-6Bs for the Iraqi Air Force.


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 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.

CT-156 Harvard II 

Version of the T-6A for NTFC with the Canadian Forces; Cockpit layoutbased on that of the CT-155 Hawk.



  • Canadian Forces
    • 2 CFFTS, CFB Moose Jaw


  • Hellenic Air Force

USUnited States

  • United States Air Force
    • Air Education and Training Command
      • 12th Flying Training Wing – Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
        • 559th Flying Training Squadron
      • 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 Air Force Base
        • 43d Flying Training Squadron – Columbus Air Force Base
        • 96th Flying Training Squadron – Laughlin Air Force Base
        • 97th Flying Training Squadron – Sheppard Air Force Base
        • 100th Flying Training Squadron – Randolph Air Force Base
  • United States Navy


  • 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. At the time of the accident, the aircraft were conducting initial flight training operations. On-scene emergency response located and confirmed all four pilots had parachuted safely.

Specifications (T-6A)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2, tandem seating
  • Length: 33 ft 4 in (10.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 5 in (10.2 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 8 in (3.3 m)
  • Empty weight: 4,900 lb (2,087 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 6,550 lb (2,971 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,500 lb (2,958 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop, 1,100 shp (820 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 316 knots IAS (Mach 0.67 at high altitude, 585 km/h)
  • Range: 850 nm (1,575 km)
  • Service ceiling 31,000 ft (9,448 m)
  • Rate of climb: 4,500 ft/min (1,372 m/min)


  1. HawkerBeechcraft Production
  2. Hawker Beechcraft – T-6 is not a PC-9 Article
  3. Biz Yahoo Onex Acquires Hawker Beechcraft Article
  4. Global Security T-6 Texan
  5. Department of National Defence Public Affairs (March 2007). "CT-156 Harvard II". Retrieved on 2008-06-25.
  6. Iraq to Get 36 AT-6B Light Attack Planes, 20 T-6A Trainers
  7. CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 for Turboprop and Jet Trainers Article
  8. Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (undated). "Beechcraft AT-6". Retrieved on 2008-10-04.
  9. Air Force Link (November 2007). "T-6 Texan IIs collide". Retrieved on 2007-11-28.

External links