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T-6A JPATS [Texan II / Harvard II]

The Raytheon T-6A Joint Primary Air Training System (JPATS) turboprop is designed as a dedicated training aircraft possessing jet-like handling characteristics. Replacing the Air Force's T-37 and the Navy's T-34C aircraft, which are 37 and 22 years old, respectively, the T-6A will offer better performance and significant improvements in training effectiveness, safety, cockpit accommodations and operational capabilities. Seven hundred and forty T-6A aircraft will be purchased by the United States Air Force and the United States Navy. The Air Force and Navy transition to the T-6A is expected to take approximately 10 years. The Air Force will steadily replace T-37s with T-6s at all Air Education and Training Command joint specialized undergraduate pilot training bases.

The T-6A Texan II is named after the classic T-6 Texan trainer used by the Navy and Air Force in the 1940s and 1950s. The T-6A will support a variety of joint flight-training programs, including joint primary pilot training for entry-level aviation students. It will provide the skills necessary for pilots to progress to one of five training tracks: a bomber/fighter track (T-38); a strike track (T-45); an airlift/tanker track (T-1A); a maritime track (T-44); or a helicopter track. It also will support joint navigator and naval flight officer training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Also slated for use in companion trainer programs for Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command, the T-6A may support Euro-NATO joint jet-pilot training administered by the Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas.

The T-6A Texan II offers better performance and significant improvements in training effectiveness, safety, cockpit accommodations and operational capabilities than present aircraft. Powered by a single, Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 turboprop engine with a four-blade propeller, it features a stepped-tandem, cockpit configuration, with the instructor's rear seat raised slightly to improve visibility from the rear cockpit; modern avionics; and improved egress systems. Both T-6A cockpits are covered by a single, side-opening, non-jettisoned canopy. The T-6A offers increased birdstrike protection over current training aircraft, and will improve the safety of landing and low-level training at Air Force and Navy bases. It has a pressurized cockpit to permit training at higher, less-congested altitudes and reduce the stress on student pilots. The aircraft is equipped with an onboard oxygen-generating system that reduces the time needed to service the aircraft between flights. The T-6A's tricycle-type landing-gear is hydraulically retracted through electric controls and is equipped with both differential brakes and nosewheel steering. The aircraft is fitted with electrically controlled, hydraulically operated, split flaps, used for takeoff and landing. It also has a single, ventral-plate, speed brake located between the flaps. All flight controls are manually activated, with electrically activated trim controls. Flight controls and avionics can be operated from both cockpits. For single-pilot operations, the pilot will fly in the front cockpit. A low-wing, training aircraft approved for night and day Visual Flight Range (VFR) and Instrument Flight Range (IFR) flight, the T-6A Texan II has a cockpit designed to accommodate the widest possible range of pilots, both male and female, and will open flying careers to the largest possible pool of qualified applicants.

The current T-6A Texan II program calls for buying up to 711 production aircraft (372 for the Air Force and 339 for the Navy) from Raytheon Aircraft Co., Wichita, Kan., at an estimated cost of $4 billion. This numbre may increase to some 860 JPATS aircraft, based on projections of the number of aviators both services need and the number of joint squadrons they must develop. The Flight Training System Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB is managing the acquisition of the Texan. JPATS is seeking to maximize the benefits of allowing the prime contractor to operate using commercial practices with its subcontractors and vendors. The program will be conducted using commercial style practices to the greatest extent possible; however, due to the nature of the acquisition strategy, current government acquisition, auditing and domestic content policies will continue to be applied to the prime.

In response to FY89 Congressional direction, DoD submitted the 1989 Trainer Aircraft Master Plan which documented the status of USAF and USN pilot training programs. In December 1990 the Joint Requirements Oversight Council validated the JPATS Mission Need Statement, with a need for nearly 900 trainer aircraft. Operational requirements were subsequently codified in the JPATS Operational Requirements Document. In January 1992 JPATS was designated a Defense Acquisition Pilot Program.

The JPATS selection process began formally on May 18, 1994, when the request for proposal was issued. The source selection process included assessment of each contestant's proposals and flight evaluations of the candidate aircraft. This was one of the longest and most closely scrutinized source-selection competitions ever." The selection process took fourteen months and entailed evaluation of seven aircraft, seven cockpit mockups, and thousands of pages of contractor proposals.

Raytheon was awarded the contract Feb. 5, 1996. The US General Accounting Office denied protests lodged by Cessna Aircraft Company against the selection of Raytheon, and an lier protest, lodged by Rockwell, was also denied. The contract contains a nine year period of performance through FY2004 (including production options). The production follow-on will run through FY2017. The total program value is expected to be approximately $4 billion. The results of the ground-based training system source selection were announced on 21 April 1997. Flight Safety Services Corp., Flushing N.Y., is developing the ground-based training system for the T-6A. Hughes Training, Inc. was the other competing finalist not chosen to develop the Ground Based Training System. Production of the JPATS began with the award of the Lot 2 option for three aircraft to Raytheon Aircraft Co., in February l996. On Sept. 23, l996, the Air Force awarded a $31 million Lot 3 contract option to RAC for the next six JPATS production aircraft, technical manuals, and engineering/management/support data.

The first aircraft was assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB, where it is used to train the first Air Force and Navy T-6A instructor pilots, who form the initial cadre of instructors at Laughlin AFB, Texas. Follow-on aircraft will be assigned to Vance AFB, Okla.; Columbus AFB, Miss.; and Sheppard AFB, Texas. Current plans call for continued aircraft production through 2017. Delivery of the first production aircraft was slated for May 1999 at Randolph, and actually took place in May 2000. The initial value of the ground-based training system contract with all options is for approximately $202 million through 2005, and approximately $500 million over a 24-year period.

The Navy will begin receiving the T-6A in November 2002 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field in Milton, Fla. Follow-on naval air stations include NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and NAS Pensacola, Fla. Air Force initial operational capability (IOC) for the T-6A is planned for 2001, with Navy IOC scheduled for 2003.

The original AT-6 Texan advanced trainer was one of the most widely used aircraft in history. Evolving from the BC-1 basic combat trainer ordered in 1937, 15,495 Texans were built between 1938 and 1945. The USAAF procured 10,057 AT-6s; others went to the Navy as SNJs and to more than 30 Allied nations. Most AAF fighter pilots trained in AT-6s prior to graduation from flying school. Many of the "Spitfire" and "Hurricane" pilots in the Battle of Britain trained in Canada in "Harvards," the British version of the AT-6. To comply with neutrality laws, U.S. built Harvards were flown north to the border and were pushed across. In 1948, Texans still in USAF service were redesignated as T-6 when the AT, BT and PT aircraft designations were abandoned.

Specifications

Length overall 33 ft 4 in / 10.16 m
Wing span 33 ft 5 in / 10.18 m
Height overall 10 ft 8 in / 3.25 m
Wing aspect ratio 6.29
Maximum internal fuel 149.0 Imp gal / 677.5 liters
Basic weight empty 4707 lb / 2135 kg
Design maximum take-off 6300 lb / 2857 kg
POWERPLANT Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 turboprop
Hartzell four blade propeller
Engine rating 1100 SHP (continuous)
Average unit cost (TY$) $5M

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