Beechcraft has carried out the initial test flight of its first production AT-6 light attack aircraft at its facility in Wichita, Kansas, US.
Having already completed more than 1,600 flight hours, the aircraft is being offered to the US allies seeking light attack air support for demanding missions.
During flight test, the aircraft was loaded with a pair of 250L drop tanks, two inert GBU-58 laser-guided bombs, two LAU-131 seven-shot rocket launchers, as well as a L-3 Wescam Mx-15Di electro-optical infrared camera, Flight Global reports.
Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said the flight test demonstrates the collaborative effort of the entire Beechcraft team involved in the design, development and production of the AT-6 aircraft.
”We have seen a growing interest in the AT-6 from the defence establishment around the world and we are eager to provide proven reliability and a cost-effective solution to meet the light attack mission needs of our customers,” Boisture said.
Beechcraft Defense Company president Russ Bartlett said: ”This light attack aircraft is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and avionics that will provide partnering nations with a proven air platform and weapons systems that are already in use by air forces around the world.”
Powered by a single Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, the AT-6 is an armed variant of T-6B Texan II aircraft under development to support a variety of operations, including training, manned intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and light precision attack missions.
Equipped with CMC Esterline’s mission modified Cockpit 4000 and Lockheed Martin-built A-10C-based mission system, the aircraft can also be used in the support of convoy escort, homeland defence, counter-narcotics, disaster area reconnaissance, search-and-rescue and firefighting operations.
The aircraft has successfully demonstrated high-end net-centric and light attack capabilities and full compatibility with US and Nato joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) systems during the Air National Gurad’s (ANG) Operational Assessment and Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment in 2010.
Image: The AT-6 light attack aircraft during its first production test flight at Beechcraft’s facility in Kansas, US. Photo: © Beechcraft Corporation.