LONDON – The Defence branch of Textron, Textron Aviation Defence Beechraft not long ago concluded the delivery of the T-6C Texan II military to Tunisia and then to Thailand. The state-of-the-art machine will lift both air forces’ capabilities as the converted T-6C model will have the armament capability for weapons for training and light attack purposes.
The Arab nation of Tunisia became the 13th customer for the Beechcraft T-6 series, with eight on order. The newly Beechcraft T-6 variant will be based at Sfax with the No. 13 Squadron.
The Tunisian Air Force will be replacing the L-39 jets made in Czechia in the advanced/weapons training role, where students are slowly progressing into the Texan II, after enduring training on the SIAI-Marchetti SF260s of No. 14 Squadron at the same base.
The Tunisian Air Force chief of staff General Mohamed Hajjem stated that: “Becoming a regional leader in military flight training excellence is one of the milestones on the path to achieving our counter-terrorism and border security mission requirements”. He furthered: “This acquisition paves the way for additional bilateral engagements and strengthens our relationship with the United States.”
Under a foreign military sales contract with Tunisian acquisition of the T-6C, this includes spare parts on engines and aircraft; 12 months of contractor support, field service, logistic support representatives, support equipment, and training for Tunisian personnel.
The first-ever Tunisian-delivered T-6 will be the 1,001st to be built, with the landmark 1,000 aircraft having been delivered to Colombia a couple of months back. The second T-6 for Tunisia is expected to be delivered at the end of this year, and the remainder 6 will be gradually delivered from next year and onwards.
Training of newer batches of Tunisian pilots is currently undergoing in Kansas.
Only a few days after the Tunisian delivery, the first two of a dozen ordered T-6C IIs have been spotted on their ferry flight to Thailand. The Thai version has been designated its own variant; the T-6TH. The two ferried machines from Wichita flew through Canada, Iceland, Scotland, Italy, Greece, and India.
The remaining 10 aircraft will be ferried through sea freight. Unlike the Tunisian Air Force, the Thai Air Force (RTAF) will be replacing their Pilatus PC-9s, which ironically are based on the T-6 platform. This may explain why the Thai Air Force ordered the T-6s.
Thailand ordered their T-6s back in September 2020 and is set to be based on the 4th Air Division at Kamphaeng Saen, which is a flight training school.
PHOTO: Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya, an F-16 pilot in the Royal Thai Air Force, prepares to fly the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II during his November 2021 visit to Textron Aviation Defense in Wichita, Kansas. PHOTO CREDIT: Textron
Not only the Thai Air Force has ordered a training variant, but also an attack variant. At the Dubai Air Show in November 2021, the South East Asian Kingdom announced it would order 8 AT-6TH Wolverines.
This meant that Thailand is the first initial overseas customer who ordered a dedicated weaponised variant of the T-6, hence the name T-6TH designation. These variants are slated for delivery in 2024.