Textron Aviation’s defense arm will be supplying the U.S. Air Force with two Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine turboprops, the company announced on Monday. Along with the aircraft, the $70.2 million contract will cover pilot training, engineering services and up to four years of contractor support. According to Textron, the AT-6 costs less than $1,000 per flight hour and shares an 85 percent parts commonality with the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, which the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps use for pilot training.
“The U.S. Air Force and Navy flew the AT-6 during the Light Attack experiment, putting its combat-proven A-10 mission computer, Wescam MX-15 EO/IR sensor, Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet) and other capabilities to work, employing a substantial amount of ordnance, demonstrating aircrew re-fueling and re-arming at the Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) and conducting other activities in support of experiment objectives,” said Textron Vice President of Defense Strategy and Sales Brett Pierson. “The AT-6 met all of the experiment’s standards and proved itself as a high performance, austere field-capable aircraft that delivers unparalleled mission capability, deployability and sustainability.”
The Air Force says the AT-6s will go to Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base for “testing and development of operational tactics and standards for exportable, tactical networks that improve interoperability with international partners.” In addition, it was announced that the Air Force would be purchasing an unspecified number of Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, a model that also participated in the Air Force’s Light Attack Experiment.