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Beechcraft / Raytheon T-6 Texan II

Tandem-Seat Basic Trainer Aircraft

The Beechcraft-Raytheon T-6 Texan II is an acrobatic tandem-seat aviation trainer in service with several militaries today.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 10/15/2019
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Year: 2001
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): Raytheon Aircraft Company / Hawker Beechcraft (Textron Aviation) - USA
Production: 855
Capabilities: Ground Attack; Close-Air Support (CAS); Training;
Crew: 2
Length: 33.46 ft (10.2 m)
Width: 33.50 ft (10.21 m)
Height: 10.70 ft (3.26 m)
Weight (Empty): 4,601 lb (2,087 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 6,301 lb (2,858 kg)
Power: 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turbo-prop engine developing 1,100 shaft horsepower.
Speed: 320 mph (515 kph; 278 kts)
Ceiling: 31,004 feet (9,450 m; 5.87 miles)
Range: 979 miles (1,575 km; 850 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 3,100 ft/min (945 m/min)
Operators: Argentina; Canada; Greece; Iraq; Israel; Mexico; Morocco; New Zealand; Tunisia (possible); United Kingdom; United States
The Beechcraft/Raytheon T-6 "Texan II" is a lightweight, high performance, turboprop-powered basic/advanced trainer based on the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 series. The aircraft was born through a U.S. DoD initiative to help consolidate pilot training amongst its Air Force and Navy services while doing away with older generation T-34 and T-37 aircraft then in service. Begun in 1991, the JPATS (Joint Primary Aircraft Training System) program was established as a combination of resources in an effort to reduce the overall costs of pilot training. The T-6 Texan II was the adopted aircraft that beat out some six other suitors, becoming the namesake to the World War 2-era North American T-6 "Texan" in its primary role. Exported to other nations, the Texan II has also been outfitted with munitions for the light attack role.

The T-6 Texan II series is largely on the Pilatus PC-9 Mk II variant with the first prototype flight conducted in December of 1992. Deliveries then began in 2000 with formal service introduction had in 2001. Despite some obvious commonalities between the Swiss version and the American mark, the T-6 Texan II enjoys a reinforced internal structure and a more powerful engine. Due to the militarization common to aircraft ported over from civilian models, the Texan II was given an increased Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) as well as ejection seats for the two pilots. The two airmen are seated in tandem under a single-piece canopy hinged to open to the side. The typical arrangement seats the student in front with the instructor at rear while vision from both seats remains excellent thanks to the raised bubble-style canopy in play.

Power is served through a sole Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 series turboprop engine developing 1,100 horsepower while driving a four-bladed Hartzell propeller assembly at front. Speeds can reach 365 miles per hour while cruising is generally handled in the 320-mile per hour range. Operational ranges reach out to 1,035 miles with a service ceiling of 31,000 feet. The airframe is rated for G-limits up to 7.0g and -3.5g.

Operators beyond the United States now include Canada (CF-156 "Harvard II"), Greece, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, and New Zealand. Canadian aircraft carry over the original "Harvard" name of World War 2 based on the original North American T-6 trainers. The Iraqi Air Force has received some 36 AT-6B Texan II light attack variants to date while New Zealand models are set to be delivered in 2016. Mexico received its aircraft in 2012-2013 and these serve both the air force and naval branches of service.

Current marks include the standard T-6A trainer, the T-6A NTA light attack model for the Greek Air Force, the upgraded T-6B with glass cockpit and HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-and-Stick). the AT-6B light attack variant, the T-6C upgraded form, and the Canadian CT-156 "Harvard II" largely based on the USAF/USN models.

Program Updates

October 2019 - Tunisia has been named as a possible customer for the storied (and proven) T-6 Texan II basic/advanced trainer.


Typically none for training. However, armed versions mount rocket pods, gun pods, conventional drop bombs as well as external fuel drop tanks as required for light combat role.

Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank

Cockpit Picture

Variants / Models

• T-6 "Texan II" - Base series designation; based on the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 series.
• T-6A - Base Trainer for use by USAF, USN, and Greek Air Force.
• T-6A NTA - Armed variant for Greece Air Force; based on T-6A model; provision for drop bombs, gun pods, rocket pods, and external fuel tanks.
• T-6B - Updated Texan II; digital cockpit; HOTAS.
• AT-6B - Armed Light Attack Variant based on T-6B model.
• CT-156 "Harvard II" - Canadian T-6A export version
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