The T-6 is a joint Air Force/Navy undergraduate pilot trainer developed under the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System program. The aircraft is based on the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 and the Navy version is designated T-6B.
Mods include a strengthened fuselage, zero/zero ejection seats, upgraded engine, increased fuel capacity, pressurized cockpit, bird-resistant canopy, and digital avionics with sunlight-readable LCDs. The tandem student and instructor positions are interchangeable, including single-pilot operation from either seat.
The T-6 is fully aerobatic and features an anti-G system. USAF production was completed in 2010, with an expected service life of 21 years. Ongoing mods include airspace compliant avionics, improved canopy fracture system, and updated training aids.
Development includes controlled flight into terrain avoidance, a crash-survivable flight data recorder, and Next-Generation Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) to combat the hypoxia-like incidents expected starting in FY22. Improved maintenance and inspections will mitigate hypoxia risks until fleetwide retrofit is complete.
Contractor: Beechcraft/Textron Aviation Defense (formerly Raytheon).
First Flight: July 15, 1998.
Delivered: May 2000-May 2010.
IOC: May 2000.
Production: 452 (USAF); 328 (USN).
Inventory: 442 (USAF).
Operator: AETC, USN.
Aircraft Location: USAF: Columbus AFB, Miss.; Laughlin AFB, JBSARandolph, and Sheppard AFB, Texas; Vance AFB, Okla.; NAS Pensacola, Fla.
Active Variant: •T-6A. Joint service primary training aircraft, based on the Pilatus PC-9.
Dimensions: Span 33.5 ft, length 33.4 ft, height 10.7 ft.
Weight: Max T-O 8,300 lb (T-6).
Power Plant: One Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop, 1,100 shp.
Performance: Speed 320 mph, range 1,035 miles.
Ceiling: 31,000 ft.
Accommodation: Two pilots on Martin Baker MK16LA zero/zero ejection seats.