Tunisia looking to acquire T-6C trainers


Tunisia’s military is looking at acquiring a dozen T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft from the United States in a deal worth more than $200 million.

The US State Department approved the possible military sale and the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified congress on 10 October.

The DSCA said Tunisia had requested the possible sale of 12 T-6C Texan II aircraft, spare engines, flight trainer, spares, ground handling equipment, support equipment and support worth an estimated $234 million.

The proposed sale will replace Tunisia’s aging trainer fleet and allow Tunisia to continue training pilots to support its counter-terrorism and border security missions, the DSCA said. The Tunisian Air Force flies F-5 Tiger II, MB326, L-59T and SF260 aircraft in the combat and trainer roles.

The prime contractor will be Textron Aviation Defence based in Wichita, Kansas.

In Africa, Tunisia is set to join Morocco as a T-6C operator. Morocco ordered 24 of the type for $185 million in October 2009. These were delivered from 2011.

The T-6 is a development of the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 turboprop trainer and was developed to fill the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System role for the US Air Force and the US Navy. The C model is a further refinement of the T-6A Texan II with an integrated glass cockpit, advanced avionics suite and hard-point wings that can accommodate auxiliary fuel tanks. In addition to the hard-point wings, the T-6C’s upgraded avionics include a Head-Up Display, Up Front Control Panel, three Multifunction Displays and Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) controls. This equipment mirrors the systems and capabilities of front-line strike fighter aircraft, while retaining all the inherent training and flying characteristics of the T-6 trainer.

Apart from the United States and Morocco, the T-6 has been widely exported, including to NATO’s Flying Training in Canada programme, Mexico, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Greece, Israel and Iraq. The type has logged more than 3.2 million flight hours around the world.