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Fairchild Republic T-46


Military Primary Jet Trainer Prototype


United States | 1985



"The doomed Fairchild T-46 trainer was the last effort put out by the Fairchild Republic concern - the USAF forced to go down another path."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Fairchild T-46 Military Primary Jet Trainer Prototype.
2 x Garrett F109-GA-100 non-afterburning turbofan engines developing 1,330lb of thrust each.
Propulsion
457 mph
735 kph | 397 kts
Max Speed
46,588 ft
14,200 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
1,367 miles
2,200 km | 1,188 nm
Operational Range
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Fairchild T-46 Military Primary Jet Trainer Prototype.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
29.5 ft
8.99 m
O/A Length
38.6 ft
(11.78 m)
O/A Width
10.0 ft
(3.04 m)
O/A Height
5,732 lb
(2,600 kg)
Empty Weight
6,967 lb
(3,160 kg)
MTOW
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Fairchild Republic T-46 family line.
T-46 - Base Project Designation; three aircraft completed as well as a subscale technology demonstrator.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/14/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The Fairchild T-46, the last aircraft offering to come from the storied company, was part of a failed 1980s United States Air Force (USAF) effort to find a successor to an aging line of Cessna T-37 "Tweet" primary jet trainer aircraft. By this time, the straight-winged T-37 had been flying since 1957 (its series introduction) and some 1,269 were ultimately made for a variety of global operators - used in training and close-support/light strike combat roles. The T-46 was born from the service's new "Next Generation Trainer" (NGT) program forged in 1981 and flew for the first time in 1985 but was canceled as soon as 1988 with just three airframes built. The "Joint Primary Aircraft Training System" (JPATS) was subsequently jointly established by the USAF and United States Navy and this fruitful venture resulted in the Beech-Pilatus "Texan II" trainer, based in the excellent Swiss PC-9 development.

The Fairchild concern proved their design sound by partnering with Ames Industries to construct a 62% scale technology demonstrator of their trainer - this work resulting in the "Model 73 NGT" flyer. Testing would be handled from the Rutan Aircraft Factory over Mojave, California. USAF authorities liked what they saw in the Fairchild proposal and named the design the winning bid on July 2nd, 1982. An order for two flyable prototypes then followed to be succeeded by fifty-four production-quality airframes in an initial batch (650 total trainers in all were being sought by the service, making the T-46 design quite the lucrative investment for Fairchild).

The end-result was a flat, stubby-looking aircraft which seated its crew of two side-by-side (as in the T-37). This produced a wider-than-normal fuselage as the turbofan engine housings straddled the fuselage, adding addition girth to the design. The empennage was relatively short and capped by a rather unconventional twin-finned tailplane arrangement set about individual horizontal planes joined to the tail stem. The mainplanes were positioned over the fuselage (shoulder-mounted) and were straight in their general shape. A retractable, wheeled undercarriage allowed for ground-running.

A first-flight was had on October 15th, 1985 but, by this time, the program's development costs were ballooning to the point that sustainability was put into question (the design itself was actually presented few issues in testing). The effort was partially ended around 1986 and more or less fully ended in the 1987 budget review. Formal cancellation followed in 1988 with just three aircraft to show for the effort - the move also doomed Fairchild as an airplane maker: its storied Farmingdale (New York) facility shut down - the same facility that birthed the famous P-47 "Thunderbolt" of the World War 2 period. The company's last great contribution became the Fairchild Republic A-10 "Thunderbolt II" Close-Air Support (CAS) platform revealed a decade earlier in 1977.

All of the three surviving airframes amazingly went on to survive the Test Of Time: s/n 84-0492 is held at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum (Edwards AFB) and 84-0493 resides at the National Museum of the United States Air Force (Dayton, Ohio). 85-1596 can be found at the Pima Air Museum in Arizona. The Model 37 demonstrator is housed at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in New York.

As completed, the aircraft was given an overall length of 29.5 feet, a wingspan of 38.7 feet, and a height of 9.11 feet. Empty weight reached 5,725lb while the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) was rated to 6,962lb. Power was from 2 x Garrett F109-GA-100 turbofan engines developing 1,330lb of thrust each. This powered the aircraft to speeds of 457 miles-per-hour and cruising up to 383 mph. Range was out to 1,370 miles while its service ceiling was 46,500 feet.

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Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Fairchild Republic T-46. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 3 Units

Contractor(s): Fairchild Republic - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (trialed, cancelled) ]
1 / 1
Image of the Fairchild Republic T-46
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Fairchild Republic T-46 Military Primary Jet Trainer Prototype appears in the following collections:
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