Beechcraft Flies Production AT-6 Texan II

Light attack aircraft program progresses.

Beechcraft AT-6 Flight

Beechcraft AT-6 Flight

** Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II Flight**

Beechcraft celebrated this week as the production version of the new AT-6 Texan II light attack airplane completed its first flight in Wichita. “It flies beautifully,” Lionel Alford, one of the test pilots of the inaugural flight, said after the successful mission.

“This achievement highlights the tremendous effort of the entire Beechcraft team involved in the design, development and production of the AT-6,” said Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture.

Prototypes of the AT-6 have logged more than 1,600 hours since the first flight in September 2009. The Texan II was designed for initial pilot training; weapons training; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations; and light attack capabilities. The turboprop is also capable of firing laser-guided munitions. “It is a compact package in a very effective plane,” said Alford.

The airplane is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68D turboprop engine, putting out 1,600 shp. “This light attack aircraft is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and avionics that will provide partnering nations with a proven air platform and weapons systems that are already in use by air forces around the world,” said Russ Bartlett, president, Beechcraft Defense Company.

With the program advancing, Beechcraft has yet to secure a launch customer. In a highly controversial decision, the U.S. Air Force chose Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano over the Texan II not once, but twice, after Beechcraft protested the initial decision for a coveted contract for 20 of the light attack aircraft – a deal worth $428 million.

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