The Beechcraft Texan T MK1 will take over the basic fast jet training role currently fulfilled by the Tucano T.Mk 1. Students will progress onto the aircraft from the Prefect and move forwards to the Hawk T2.
Continuing the precedent set by the Tucano for employing a tandem-seat turboprop basic trainer, the Texan II replaces the analogue cockpit of the earlier machine with a digital glass cockpit featuring modern avionics. The aircraft's mission system is capable of generating simulated air-to-air targets and scoring against the release of simulated air-to-ground ordnance.
The Texan II name recalls the North American T-6 Texan of World War II, a type used extensively by the RAF and Royal Canadian Air Force as the Harvard. When the T-6A-1 was developed as the CT-156 for the NATO Flying Training in Canada programme, it was appropriately named Harvard II.Subsequent variants include the T-6B for the US Navy and T-6C export version.
Chosen to supply a Tucano replacement under UK MFTS, Affinity has sourcedten T-6C Texan II aircraft from Beechcraft, which is now a Textron company. The first aircraft built against the order completed its maiden flight in May 2018 and visited the UK to appear at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July.