Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) has delivered the first four of six Beechcraft T-6C+ military trainers ordered by the Mexican Air Force (FAM) in a ceremony this week at Santa Lucia Air Force Base in Reyes Acozac, Mexico. The remaining two aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in time for Mexico’s Independence Day celebration on September 16.
FAM’s order, placed in January, is the first for the new T-6C+, an enhanced version of the T-6 military trainer aircraft. It is capable of carrying external stores and delivering practice weapons for training purposes, and will replace the FAM’s aging PC-7 fleet. The FAM will use the T-6C+ for intermediate to advanced tactics including air-to-ground weapons employment capabilities and training.
“We are pleased to provide the Mexican Air Force with the highly effective, ultra-reliable and low-maintenance Beechcraft T-6C+,” said Russ Bartlett, president, Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company. “These airplanes will form the backbone of the flight training program for the next generation of exceptional Mexican Air Force pilots, and we’re honored to be a part of it. We view this delivery of the first four aircraft as an important initial step in a long and successful relationship with the FAM.”
In addition to the new aircraft, the FAM also welcomed home four instructor pilots who have completed six weeks of flight training at Hawker Beechcraft facilities in Wichita. At the request of Mexican military leadership, and in a gesture to show the beginning of a long partnership between HBDC and the FAM, all four T-6C+ aircraft were ferried by joint crews consisting of one Hawker Beechcraft pilot and one FAM pilot.
The T-6C+ features a hard-point wing, Heads-Up Display, Up-Front Control Panel, an integrated glass cockpit and Esterline CMC Cockpit 4000 avionics suite. The systems are integrated with a Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS), providing the student pilot and instructor with a simpler interface to the digital cockpit. The CMC Cockpit 4000 avionics suite is the first in its class to incorporate a fully integrated and FAA-certified dual FMS/GPS navigation suite that meets the required navigation performance standards for current worldwide airspace equipment. The open architecture design of the Cockpit 4000 provides the flexibility to expand capabilities and continuously meet current and future training needs.
Deliveries of the T-6 began in 2000 after the aircraft was initially selected to fill the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System role for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. Since then, additional military programs worldwide, including NATO Flying Training in Canada, the Hellenic Air Force of Greece, the Israeli Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force and the Royal Moroccan Air Force, have chosen the T-6 and its derivatives as their primary trainers. The T-6 has been used to train pilots, navigators and weapons systems operators from approximately 20 different countries. The worldwide fleet of nearly 800 T-6 aircraft exceeded 2 million flight hours in June 2012.