Beechcraft Defence Systems has handed over an additional T-6C Texan II new pilot training aircraft to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in a ceremony at Base Ohakea in New Zealand.
The aircraft represent the fifth T-6C Texan II to have been supplied to date to RNZAF and was delivered following the completion of maintenance training in New Zealand and pilot conversion courses in the US.
In January, RNZAF ordered 11 T-6C aircraft, along with two CAE operational flight training simulators, computer-based training courseware and customised RNZAF pilot training syllabi, under two separate contracts from Beechcraft. Logistics and maintenance support was also requested under these agreements.
The first two T-6C Texan II trainers were delivered in August, while the third and fourth aircraft arrived at Base Ohakea earlier this month.
Royal New Zealand Air Force chief air vice-marshal Mike Yardley said: "The T-6C Texans are specialist military aircraft built for the purpose of training military pilots how to fly.
"The T-6C will allow us to train our pilots more efficiently as they’ll use the same aircraft for their Wings course, compared to the two types of aircraft currently used.
"We’ll begin the first trainee pilot Wings course on the T-6C at the start of 2016 and these trainees will graduate at the end of that year."
The aircraft are scheduled to replace the Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainer in the primary phase of the RNZAF wings course and flight instructor course (FIC) training roles. They will also replace the Beechcraft King Air B200 in the advanced phase of the Wings Course.
Remaining seven aircraft under the contract are scheduled to be delivered in tranches by mid-2015.
An upgraded variant of the Hawker T-6 military trainer used by the US Air Force and Navy, the T-6C, is equipped with an all-digital glass cockpit and is capable of providing military training for more than 18,720 hours.
Image: New Zealand’s new T-6C Texan II aircraft receives its ceremonial ‘wash’ by the RNZAF fire trucks at Base Okhea. Photo: courtesy of NZDF/© CROWN COPYRIGHT 2013.