U.S. Navy Receives First New Beechcraft King Air Trainers

A US navy Beechcraft King Air 260 trainer in the hangar.
Photo Credit: Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation recently delivered the first two of potentially 64 Beechcraft King Air 260 aircraft to the U.S. Navy.

These aircraft are part of a Multi-Engine Training System (METS) contract awarded to Textron by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in January 2023.

Modernizing the Training Fleet

The new T-54A aircraft, a variant of the Beechcraft King Air 260, will replace the aging T-44C Pegasus. These are currently used by the Navy for multi-engine flight training.

This upgrade will provide student aviators with a more modern platform that better reflects the aircraft they’ll fly later in their careers. The T-44C has been in service for over four decades.

The T-54A features an advanced avionics suite and improved automation systems, preparing pilots for the complexities of modern flight operations.

“By leveraging the existing Beechcraft King Air assembly line, we can control costs, ensure consistency across the fleet, and optimize delivery schedules for the Navy,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president of Special Missions Sales at Textron Aviation.

“We’re proud to continue our 47-year partnership of providing multi-engine training aircraft for the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.”

METS Capabilities

The METS program extends beyond just the aircraft. TRU Simulation + Training, a Textron affiliate, will also provide the Navy with a comprehensive Ground Based Training System (GBTS).

This system includes flight simulators, desktop trainers, and support stations, offering a fully integrated training solution.

Textron’s Expertise in Special Missions

Textron Aviation is a trusted provider of aircraft solutions for critical government, military, and commercial missions.

Their products are known for their performance, versatility, and low operating costs, making them ideal for tasks such as air ambulance, intelligence gathering, utility transport, and flight training.

King Air Legacy

Since 1964, over 7,700 Beechcraft King Air turboprops have been delivered worldwide, solidifying its position as the best-selling business turboprop family.

The King Air has logged over 62 million flight hours in its 60-year history, serving in all branches of the U.S. military and performing diverse civilian roles.

About the King Air 260

The King Air 260 brings advanced technology to the cockpit, enhancing pilot experience. Features include the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle system.

This automatically manages engine power throughout various flight phases, reducing pilot workload and preventing potential issues.

The digital pressurization controller ensures smooth cabin pressurization during ascent and descent, contributing to passenger comfort.

Additionally, the Collins Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar offers exceptional situational awareness for pilots. The unit has the capability to automatically detect short, medium, and long-range weather patterns.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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