Today’s Beechcraft T-6 is little more than a distant relative of its European cousin, the Pilatus PC-9. In the first of a two-part report, Combat Aircraft examines the background of the Texan II, and its various US operators.


THE US AIR Force’s Air Training Command (ATC) initially began searching for a new primary training aircraft, to replace its Cessna T-37Bs, after cancelling the Fairchild Republic T-46A next-generation trainer (NGT) program in 1987. In response to a Congressional requirement, the Department of Defense (DoD) submitted its 1989 Trainer Aircraft Master Plan, which was approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and forwarded to Congress on February 15, 1989.

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