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North American T-28 Trojan

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North American T-28 Trojan

T-28 Trojan
A US Navy T-28B in 1973
Role Trainer aircraft
Manufacturer North American Aviation
First flight 24 September 1949
Retired 1994 Philippine Air Force [1]
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Navy
South Vietnamese Air Force
French Air Force
Produced 1950–57
Number built 1,948
Developed from North American XSN2J
Developed into AIDC T-CH-1

The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan was a piston-engined military trainer aircraft used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. Besides its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a Counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War.

Design and development

On September 24, 1949, the XT-28 (company designation NA-159) was flown for the first time, designed to replace the T-6 Texan. Found satisfactory, a contract was issued and between 1950 and 1957, a total of 1,948 were built.

Following the T-28's withdrawal from U.S. military service, a number were remanufactured by Hamilton Aircraft into two versions called the Nomair. The first refurbished machines, designated T-28R-1 were similar to the standard T-28s they were adapted from, and were supplied to the Brazilian Navy. Later, a more ambitious conversion was undertaken as the T-28R-2, which transformed the two-seat tandem aircraft into a five-seat cabin monoplane for general aviation use. Other civil conversions of ex-military T-28As were undertaken by PacAero as the Nomad Mark I and Nomad Mark II[2]

Operational history

After becoming adopted as a primary trainer by the USAF, the United States Navy and Marine Corps adopted it as well. Although the Air Force phased out the aircraft from primary pilot training by the early 1960s, continuing use only for limited training of special operations aircrews and for primary training of select foreign military personnel, the aircraft continued to be used as a primary trainer by the Navy (and by default, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard) well into the early 1980s.

The largest single concentration of this aircraft was employed by the U.S. Navy at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, in the training of student naval aviators. The T-28's service career in the U.S. military ended with the completion of the phase-in of the T-34C turboprop trainer. The last U.S. Navy training squadron to fly the T-28 was VT-27, based at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, flying the last T-28 training flight in early 1984. The last T-28 in the Training Command, BuNo 137796, departed for Naval District Washington on 14 March 1984 to be displayed permanently at Naval Support Facility Anacostia, D.C.[3] Many T-28s were subsequently sold to private civil operators, and due to their reasonable operating costs are often found flying as warbirds today.

In September 2011, a T-28 Trojan stunt team lost one of its aircraft and crew during an air show in Martinsburg, West Virginia. No other casualties were reported.[4]

Vietnam War

VNAF T-28Cs over Vietnam.

In 1963, a Royal Lao Air Force T-28 piloted by Lieutenant Chert Saibory, a Thai national, defected to North Vietnam. Saibory was immediately imprisoned and his aircraft was impounded. Within six months the T-28 was refurbished and commissioned into the North Vietnamese Air Force as its first fighter aircraft.[5]

T-28s were supplied to the South Vietnamese Air Force in support of ARVN ground operations, seeing extensive service during the Vietnam War in VNAF hands, as well as the Secret War in Laos. A T-28 Trojan was the first US fixed wing attack aircraft (non-transport type) lost in South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. Capt. Robert L. Simpson, USAF, Detachment 2A, lst Air Commando Group, and Lt. Hoa, SVNAF, were shot down by ground fire on August 28, 1962 while flying Close Air Support (CAS). Neither crewman survived. The USAF lost 23 T-28s to all causes during the war, with the last two losses occurring in 1968.[6]

Other uses

T-28s were also used by the CIA in the former Belgian Congo during the 1960s.[7] France used locally re-manufactured Trojans for close support missions in Algeria.[8] The Philippines utilized T-28s (colloquially known as "Tora-toras") during the 1989 Philippine coup attempt, the aircraft were often deployed as dive bombers by rebel forces.

AeroVironment has modified and armored a T-28A to fly weather research for South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, funded by the National Science Foundation.[9][10]


An early-production U.S. Navy T-28B in 1954.
A tailhook-equipped T-28C after trapping aboard USS Tarawa (CVA-40), in 1955.
A turboprop-powered YAT-28E in 1964.
Prototype; two built.
U.S. Air Force version with an 800 hp (597 kW) Wright R-1300-7 radial engine; 1,194 built.
U.S. Navy version with 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) Wright R-1820-9 radial engine, three-blade propeller, belly-mounted speed brake; 489 built.
U.S. Navy version, a T-28B with shortened propeller blades and tailhook for carrier-landing training; 266 built.
T-28D Nomad
T-28Bs converted for the USAF in 1962 for the counter insurgency (COIN), reconnaissance, search and rescue, and forward air controller roles in Vietnam. Fitted with two underwing hardpoints. The later T-28D5 had ammo pans inside the wings that could be hooked up to hardpoint-mounted gun pods for a better center of gravity and aerodynamics; 321 converted by Pacific Airmotive (Pac-Aero).
T-28 Nomad Mark I - Wright R-1820-56S engine (1,300 hp).[2][11]
T-28 Nomad Mark II - Wright R-1820-76A (1,425 hp)
T-28 Nomad Mark III - Wright R-1820-80 (1,535 hp)[12]
Fairchild AT-28D
Attack model of the T-28D used for Close Air Support (CAS) missions by the USAF and allied Air Forces in Southeast Asia. It was fitted with six underwing hardpoints and the rocket-powered Stanley Yankee ejection seat;[13][14] 72 converted by Fairchild Hiller.
Experimental development of the counter insurgency T-28D. It was powered by a 2,445 hp (1,823 kW) Lycoming YT-55L-9 turboprop, and armed with two .50 in machine guns and up to 6,000 lb (2,730 kg) of weapons on 12 underwing hardpoints. Three prototypes were converted from T-28As by North American, with the first model flying on 15 February 1963. The project was canceled in 1965.[15]
T-28S Fennec
Ex-USAF T-28As converted in 1959 for use by the French Armee de l'Air, replacing the Morane-Saulnier MS.733A. It was flown by their Escadrilles d'Aviation Légère d'Appui (EALA; "Light Aviation Support Squadrons") in the counter insurgency (COIN) role in North Africa from 1959 to 1962. Fitted with an electrically powered sliding canopy, side-armor, a 1,200 hp Wright R-1820-97 supercharged radial engine (the model used in the B-17 bomber),[16] and four underwing hardpoints.[17] It is referred to as the "S" variant because its engine had a supercharger on it; it has also been referred to as the T-28F variant – with the "F" standing for France.
For fire support missions it usually carried two double-mount .50-caliber machine gun pods (with 100 rounds per gun) and two MATRA Type 122 6 x 68mm rocket pods.[17] It could also carry on paired hardpoints a 120 kg.[264 lb.] HE or GP "iron" bomb, a MATRA Type 361 36 x 37mm [1.45-inch] rocket pod, a SNEB 7 x 55mm [2.16-inch] rocket pod, or a MATRA Type 13 single-rail, MATRA Type 20 or Type 21 double-rail, MATRA Type 41 quadruple-rail (2 x 2), or MATRA Type 61 or Type 63 sextuple-rail (3 x 3) SERAM T10 heavy rocket launchers.[17] Improvised napalm bombs (called bidons spéciaux, or "special cans") were created by dropping gas tanks loaded with octagel-thickened fuel inside, then later igniting or detonating the spilled fuel with white phosphorus rockets.[17]
Total 148 airframes bought from Pacific Airmotive (Pac Aero) and modified by Sud-Aviation in France. After the war the French government offered them for sale from 1964 to 1967.[8] They sold most of them to Morocco and Argentina.[8] Argentina later sold some to Uruguay and Honduras.[8]
T-28S Fennec aircraft sold to the Argentinian Navy as carrier-borne attack aircraft. They were given shortened propeller blades and a tailhook to allow carrier landings.
T-28R Nomair

An attempt by Hamilton Aircraft Company[18] of Tucson, Arizona to make a civilianized Nomad III-equivalent out of refurbished ex-USAF T-28As. It had a Wright Cyclone R-1820-80 engine to make it fast and powerful, but had to lengthen the wingspan by seven feet to reduce the stall speed to below a "street-legal" 70 knots.[12][19] The prototype flew for the first time in September, 1960, and the FAA Type Certificate was received on 15 February 1962.[19] At the time, the T-28-R2 was the fastest single-engined standard category aircraft available in the USA. It had been flown to a height of 38,700 ft. [11,800 m].

T-28R-1 Nomair I
A military trainer that had a tandem cockpit, dual instrumentation and flying controls, and hydraulically-actuated rearward-sliding canopy.[12][20] Six were sold in 1962 as carrier-landing trainers to the Brazilian Navy and were modified with a carrier arrestor hook. They were later transferred to the Brazilian Air Force.[19]
T-28R-2 Nomair II
Modified to have a cramped five-seater cabin (one pilot and two rows of two passengers) that opened from the port side.[12][20] Ten aircraft were modified in all; one was sold to a high-altitude photographic company.[19]
Photo reconnaissance conversion for COIN use with Royal Lao Air Force. Number of conversions unknown.[21][22]


T-28Ds used in Operation Barrel Roll in Laos.
A former French T-28 Fennec.
T-28A Trojan, RoKAF.
Derelict Royal Saudi Air Force T-28A Trojan at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, one of four acquired in the 1950s
A U.S. North American T-28D Trojan wearing South Vietnamese markings, flying over Vietnam in the early 1960s.
A Royal Thai Air Force North American T-28D Trojan is waiting for takeoff.
Uruguay Naval Aviation North American T-28S Fennec.
 Republic of the Congo
 Dominican Republic
  • French Air Force - 148 T-28A airframes modified in France (1959) to make the T-28S Fennec COIN model.[26]
 Khmer Republic
 South Korea
 Saudi Arabia
 South Vietnam
 United States


A T-28A of the USAF Museum.
T-28B BuNo 138266 in 2008.

Many T-28s are on display throughout the world. In addition, a considerable number of flyable examples exist in private ownership, as the aircraft is a popular sport plane and warbird.


On display


On display


On display


On display
  • 51-3664 - Chung Cheng Aviation Museum, Taipai Airport, Taiwan.[48]


On display

United Kingdom

On display

United States

On display

Specifications (T-28D)

General characteristics


  • two or six × wing-mounted pylons capable of carrying bombs, napalm, rockets. machine gun pods containing .30 in (7.62 mm) (training), .50 in (D-model) or twin pods with .50 in (12.7 mm) and 20 mm (.79 in) cannon (Fennec)

See also

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



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  2. ^ a b The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft 1985, p. 2678.
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  4. ^ "T-28 pilot killed in W. Va. air show crash." Marine Corps Times, 18 September 2011. Retrieved: 31 December 2013.
  5. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 8–9.
  6. ^ Hobson 2001, p. 12.
  7. ^ "Holm, Richard L. "A Plane Crash, Rescue, and Recovery - A Close Call in Africa". Center for the Study of Intelligence, Historical Perspectives, Washington, D.C., Winter 1999-2000.
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Further reading

  • Núñez Padin, Jorge Felix (2010). Núñez Padin, Jorge Felix, ed. North American T-28 Fennec. Serie Aeronaval (in Spanish) 28. Bahía Blanca, Argentina: Fuerzas Aeronavales.  

External links

  • National Museum US Air Force - Factsheet T-28 Trojan
  • Warbird Alley: T-28 page
  • T-28 FENNEC : History + 2006 inventory
  • T-28 Trojan Registry: The histories of those aircraft that survived military service
  • )FennecNorth American T-28 Trojan (Variants/Other Names: AT-28;
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