Final Tunisian T-6C trainers delivered

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Textron Aviation Defense has delivered all eight T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft ordered by the Tunisian Air Force, which is now using the type for pilot training.

The arrival of the eighth aircraft was announced on 10 August, with Brett Pierson, president and CEO of Textron Aviation Defense, welcoming “the induction of the Beechcraft T-6C into Tunisian Air Force pilot production.”

The aircraft are in service with No 13 Squadron at Sfax Air Base. In late 2020 the Tunisian defence ministry announced eight T-6C trainers were being acquired, in addition to a possible four AT-6E light attack aircraft. The first T-6C was formally handed over to the Tunisian Air Force at Textron Aviation’s Wichita, Kansas, facility in September last year, but the first four aircraft were only delivered to Tunisia in May.

They were officially received in a 17 July ceremony. “Becoming a regional leader in military flight training excellence is one of the milestones on the path to achieving our counterterrorism and border security mission requirements,” General Mohamed Hajjem, the Tunisian Air Force chief of staff, said in a news release at the time.

Tunisian Pilots had begun training on the type at Textron Aviation Defence facilities in Wichita on 31 October 2022. The T-6Cs are the new primary training aircraft for the Tunisian Air Force and are augmented by a suite of training devices, including a ground-based training system, an operational flight trainer and a computer-based training lab, supplied by TRU Simulation + Training, an affiliate of Textron Aviation.

Tunisian Air Force students do their basic training on SF-260s before moving on to the jet-powered Aermacchi MB-326. The T-6Cs and AT-6Es will replace the SF-260s and nine surviving Aero L-59Ts that operate in the lead-in fighter training and light-attack roles.

Morocco is the only other African nation that flies T-6s, ordering 24 for $185 million in October 2009. These were delivered from 2011. Other T-6C customers include Argentina, Colombia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. To date, the global fleet of more than 1 000 Beechcraft T-6 Texan II aircraft has surpassed 5 million flight hours across 13 nations and two NATO flight schools.

Tunisia will also be receiving four AT-6 Wolverine aircraft and four Cessna Grand Caravans from Textron Aviation. The Caravans are being modified by ATI Engineering Services with electro-optical/infra-red sensors, operator consoles, tactical radios, video data links and night vision compatible lighting for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) role.