USAF models were the initial T-41A variant and these were a version of the Cessna Model 172F product outfitted with a Continental O-300 engine of 145 horsepower. 211 of the type were procured in all. The United States Army form became the T-41B variant and these were based on the Model R172E product while being outfitted with a Continental IO-360 engine of 210 horsepower. 211 examples then followed. This then led to the USAF variant using the T-41C designation which carried the same engine as the Army T-41B.
The Mescalero line was seen in an export form as the T-41D which were shipped with Continental IO-360 engines. At least 238 of these were delivered. Those customers passing on the T-41D but requiring the services of such an aircraft simply purchased base Cessna Model 172 and pressed these into military roles while retaining the original Lycoming O-320 engines. Operators of the Mescalero proved plenty and ranged from Angola and Argentina to Turkey and Uruguay. Some operate even today (2015) though their numbers have dwindled considerably over the passing decades.
Throughout their service time aloft, the T-41 has been used in training, liaison and light transport roles.
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