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For the similarly named World War II-era aircraft, see North American T-6 Texan.
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
First flight 2000
Introduction 2001
Status In production (2012)
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. 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 German Air Force, 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.

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.[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

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.[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]

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 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.[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 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.[17]


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.[18] On 24 October 2013 Hawker Beechcraft announced a follow-on order of an additional six T-6C+ aircraft to the FAM, bringing the total ordered to 12.[19]


In October 2009, Hawker Beechcraft announced the sale of 24 T-6Cs for the Royal Moroccan Air Force.[20]


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),[21] used at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.
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][22] Engine power is increased to 1,600shp (1193 kW) with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-68D engine, and the structure is reinforced.[23]
T-6C Texan II 
Upgraded version of the T-6B with wing hard points, and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities.[24]
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.


 United States

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.[31] The Accident Investigation Board determined that pilot error was the cause of the mishap.[32]
  • 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.[33] 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.[34]

Specifications (T-6A)

Data from Global Security,[35] USAF[36] and USN[37]

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)
  • 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

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


External links

  • Hawker Beechcraft T-6 information page
  • United States Air Force T-6 Texan II fact sheet
  • United States Navy T-6 Texan II fact sheet
  • Canadian Forces Air Command CT-156 page
  • Hawker Beechcraft T-6 comparison to PC-9
  • T-6B Texan II Aircraft Images

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