The T-6A Texan II is a tandem-seat, turboprop trainer whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots and Naval Flight Officers.
The T-6A Texan II is one component of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) along with simulators, computer-aided academics, and a Training Integration Management System (TIMS). The joint program, of which the Air Force acts as the executive service, will replace Navy T-34C and Air Force T-37B aircraft. The program uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems to the maximum extent possible. The aircraft-built by Raytheon Aircraft Company is a derivative of the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 aircraft with a Pratt & Whitney PT-6A-68 engine, digital cockpit, Martin-Baker ejection seats, cockpit pressurization, and an onboard oxygen-generating system. The Navy's total T-6A requirement is 328 aircraft.
The T-6A entered development flight test in July 1998. The FAA approved type and production certification for the T-6A aircraft and production line on 30 July 1999. A successful flight test program and a successful Milestone III full rate production decision followed in December 2001. Both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have since entered into a full rate production contract with Raytheon for aircraft. To date the U.S. Air Force has received approximately 100 aircraft and the U.S. Navy has received 4 aircraft. The system will be operational at 13 Air Force and Navy bases when fully fielded. The T-6A achieved initial operating capability (IOC) with the Air Force in 2001 at Moody AFB and the U.S. Navy's IOC is in 2003 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.
The Navy aircraft and ground-based training systems will be completely supported and maintained by commercial vendors with intermediate maintenance provided for selected systems at the operating site.