Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) this week conducted its inaugural flight of its T-6 avionics upgrade aircraft. The avionics upgrade variant is a derivative of the highly successful T-6A trainer that is currently operated by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Hellenic Air Force of Greece, and NATO Flying Training in Canada.
“The advanced technologies of the T-6 avionics upgrade will allow military student pilots to be introduced to advanced concepts and mission skills earlier through a lower-cost platform,” said Jim Maslowski, president, U.S. and International Government Business. “This will extend the life of more costly advanced training aircraft and optimize training budgets.”
The T-6 avionics upgrade will employ advanced technologies that include glass cockpit multi- function displays and backup flight instrument, Heads Up Display, hands-on-throttle-and-stick functionality, and integrated avionics computers that allow preliminary weapons training applications for military student pilots. The T-6 avionics upgrade is anticipated to be used by the U.S. military for air-to-air and air-to-ground mission training that is being conducted in follow-on aircraft to the more cost-effective T-6 avionics upgrade aircraft.
The T-6 avionics upgrade aircraft is expected to receive FAA certification this summer with the first two deliveries to the U.S. Navy planned for July. The certification includes not only the upgraded avionics suite but also a gross weight increase that allows for reduced recurring maintenance activity as well as an enhanced operational flight envelope. Further deliveries of Navy T-6 avionics upgrade aircraft are expected to continue in December, with Initial Operating Capability and the start of student training planned for April 2010. The Navy is expected to acquire more than 260 T-6 avionics upgrade aircraft to replace the aging T-34 fleet.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is a world-leading manufacturer of business, special mission and trainer aircraft – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company’s headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kan., with operations in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company leads the industry with a global network of more than 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers. For more information, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.