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.
October 2019 - Tunisia has been named as a possible customer for the storied (and proven) T-6 Texan II basic/advanced trainer.
June 2020 - Elbit of Israel has secured a $38 million USD commitment from the Israeli Air Force to continue support of the service's T-6A trainer fleet.
September 2020 - The Royal Thai Air Force has committed to the purchase of 12 T-6C basic trainers. The order includes training and spare parts for the fleet. These will be used to succeed an aging fleet of Pilatus PC-9M aircraft in same role. The deal was announced on September 28th, 2020.
Argentina; Canada; Greece; Iraq; Israel; Mexico; Morocco; New Zealand; Thailand (announced); Tunisia (possible); United Kingdom; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
33.5 ft (10.20 m)
33.5 ft (10.21 m)
10.7 ft (3.26 m)
4,601 lb (2,087 kg)
6,301 lb (2,858 kg)
+1,700 lb (+771 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Beechcraft / Raytheon T-6A Texan II production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-68 turboprop engine developing 1,100 shaft horsepower driving four-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Typically none. However, armed versions for the light attack role can be armed through unguided rocket pods, gun / cannon pods, and conventional drop bombs. External fuel drop tanks can be fitted for extended operational ranges as needed.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2
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
(Cockpit image represents the Textron Aviation T-6C Texan II production model)
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (320mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Beechcraft / Raytheon T-6A Texan II operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (855)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
Aviation developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Beechcraft / Raytheon T-6 Texan II...
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