Aircraft Company [formerly Beechcraft] T-6A Joint Primary Air Training System
(JPATS) turboprop is designed as a dedicated training aircraft possessing
jet-like handling characteristics. Replacing the Air Force's T-37 and the Navy's
T-34C aircraft, which are 37 and 22 years old, respectively, the T-6A will offer
better performance and significant improvements in training effectiveness,
safety, cockpit accommodations and operational capabilities. Seven hundred and
forty T-6A aircraft will be purchased by the United States Air Force and the
United States Navy. The Air Force and Navy transition to the T-6A is expected to
take approximately 10 years. The Air Force will steadily replace T-37s with T-6s
at all Air Education and Training Command joint specialized undergraduate pilot
Texan II is named after the classic T-6 Texan trainer used by the Navy and Air
Force in the 1940s and 1950s. The T-6A will support a variety of joint
flight-training programs, including joint primary pilot training for entry-level
aviation students. It will provide the skills necessary for pilots to progress
to one of five training tracks: a bomber/fighter track (T-38); a strike track
(T-45); an airlift/tanker track (T-1A); a maritime track (T-44); or a helicopter
track. It also will support joint navigator and naval flight officer training at
Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Also slated for use in companion trainer
programs for Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command, the T-6A may support
Euro-NATO joint jet-pilot training administered by the Air Education and
Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas.
Texan II offers better performance and significant improvements in training
effectiveness, safety, cockpit accommodations and operational capabilities than
present aircraft. The T6-A TEXAN II is a single-engine, stepped tandem, two-seat
primary trainer aircraft. Its Pratt Whitney PT6A-68 engine is flat rated at
1,100 shaft HP. The PT6A-68 engine and the T6-A TEXAN II aerodynamic
characteristics result in exceptional performance. Its excellent
thrust-to-weight ratio provides an initial rate of climb of more than 4,500 fpm
and outstanding short field capability with a takeoff distance of only 1,775
feet at sea level. Its superior aerobatic performance is demonstrated by the
aircrafts ability to perform a constant altitude 2g turn at 25,000 feet. The
T-6A combines features typical of a primary trainer with the very low fuel
consumption and overall economy of a turboprop, while simultaneously providing
50 percent more overall thrust than its predecessor. The T6-A TEXAN II
performance is unmatched.
The T6-A TEXAN II cockpit is entered through a side-opening, one-piece canopy/windscreen that has demonstrated resistance to bird strikes at speeds up to 270 knots. The pressurized cockpit features an advanced avionics package with sunlight-readable, active-matrix liquid crystal displays. It features a stepped-tandem, cockpit configuration, with the instructor's rear seat raised slightly to improve visibility from the rear cockpit; modern avionics; and improved egress systems. Both T-6A cockpits are covered by a single, side-opening, non-jettisoned canopy. The T-6A offers increased birdstrike protection over current training aircraft, and will improve the safety of landing and low-level training at Air Force and Navy bases. The pressurized cockpit permits training at higher, less-congested altitudes and reduce the stress on student pilots. The aircraft is equipped with an onboard oxygen-generating system that reduces the time needed to service the aircraft between flights.
The T-6A is equipped with a through-the-canopy, zero-zero ejection seat, a significant improvement from the seats in the T-37. But the minimum recommended ejection altitude has not changed since the days of rudimentary egress systems—it’s still 2000 feet AGL. This minimum recommended ejection altitude purposely does not take into account the advances in ejection seat technology and the better than “zero-zero” capabilities of today’s egress systems. That’s because 2000 feet gives pilots adequate time to perform all of the required post-ejection actions and steer away from ground hazards, particularly the aircraft impact fireball. By delaying ejection, pilots greatly increase the chances of sustaining significant (or fatal) injuries. The “zero-zero” capability of seats was not designed, and is not intended, to allow pilots to get closer to the ground prior to ejecting—it was designed to permit ejection during all stages of takeoff or landing, something that the old systems could not do. Through-the-canopy ejection systems, like that found on the T-6A, involve an explosive charge fracturing the transparency prior to the pilot ejecting. The necessary explosion occurs very close to the pilot, i.e., less than a foot away. Some shrapnel and molten metal is going to be sprayed inside the cockpit. Common sense and self-preservation dictate that the pilots try to cover every possible piece of skin prior to ejecting. Pilots should leave themselves enough time to be fully prepared to leave the aircraft at the minimal ejection altitude. While the T6-A is a good aircraft and a significant advancement in technology for USAF flight trainers, it does have only one engine. Engine failures will occur, and pilots will eject. The seat is extremely capable, but delaying ejection will reduce or remove any existing safety margin.
tricycle-type landing-gear is hydraulically retracted through electric controls
and is equipped with both differential brakes and nosewheel steering. The
aircraft is fitted with electrically controlled, hydraulically operated, split
flaps, used for takeoff and landing. It also has a single, ventral-plate, speed
brake located between the flaps. All flight controls are manually activated,
with electrically activated trim controls. The presence of an automatic rudder
trim aid device results in a more balanced flight control environment. Flight
controls and avionics can be operated from both cockpits. For single-pilot
operations, the pilot will fly in the front cockpit. A low-wing, training
aircraft approved for night and day Visual Flight Range (VFR) and Instrument
Flight Range (IFR) flight, the T-6A Texan II has a cockpit designed to
accommodate the widest possible range of pilots, both male and female, and will
open flying careers to the largest possible pool of qualified applicants.
T-6A Texan II program calls for buying up to 711 production aircraft (372 for
the Air Force and 339 for the Navy) from Raytheon Aircraft Co., Wichita, Kan.,
at an estimated cost of $4 billion. This number may increase to some 860 JPATS
aircraft, based on projections of the number of aviators both services need and
the number of joint squadrons they must develop. The Flight Training System
Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB is managing the acquisition of the Texan.
JPATS is seeking to maximize the benefits of allowing the prime contractor to
operate using commercial practices with its subcontractors and vendors. The
program will be conducted using commercial style practices to the greatest
extent possible; however, due to the nature of the acquisition strategy, current
government acquisition, auditing and domestic content policies will continue to
be applied to the prime.
to FY89 Congressional direction, DoD submitted the 1989 Trainer Aircraft Master
Plan which documented the status of USAF and USN pilot training programs. In
December 1990 the Joint Requirements Oversight Council validated the JPATS
Mission Need Statement, with a need for nearly 900 trainer aircraft to replace
the Air Force T-37B and Navy T-34C. Operational requirements were subsequently
codified in the JPATS Operational Requirements Document. In January 1992 JPATS
was designated a Defense Acquisition Pilot Program.
Force, as the Executive Service for JPATS, manages the program through the
Flight Training System Program Director under a joint agreement with the Navy.
The Program Director reports to the AFPEO for Airlift and Trainers (AFPEO/AT).
The Milestone Decision Authority is the Air Force Component Acquisition
Executive (CAE). From the beginning of the program, JPATS was structured to take
advantage of NDI/commercial practices and, thus, quantitative measures of
specific regulatory relief unique to commercial items are difficult to quantify.
Therefore, the program initially concentrated on three quantifiable measures:
number of program office staff, time to deliver the first production aircraft,
and program cost. These measures were refined in coordination with the PPCG to
develop JPATS-specific metrics.
experience demonstrates the potential cost (in both dollars and time) of
infusing acquisition reform principles into an ongoing solicitation. The JPATS
Request for Proposal (RFP) was delayed twice to incorporate aspects of
acquisition reform, specifically reductions in the RFP size, reductions in the
number of referenced documents, and reductions in the number of contract data
requirements. The JPATS source selection was also disturbed by directed program
changes while in source selection. Although not the most efficient mechanism for
implementation of changes, the revised RFP incorporated value added changes
which ultimately resulted in program savings.
selection process began formally on May 18, 1994, when the request for proposal
was issued by the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base, Ohio. Some of the major requirements in the proposal were advanced
ejection seats, increased bird-strike protection, electronic flight
instrumentation and digital cockpit display, pressurized cockpit, increased
oxygen capacity, and cockpits to accommodate a larger range of individuals with
different physical (male and female) dimensions. The source selection process
included assessment of each contestant's proposals and flight evaluations of the
candidate aircraft. This was one of the longest and most closely scrutinized
source-selection competitions ever." The selection process took fourteen
months and entailed evaluation of seven aircraft, seven cockpit mockups, and
thousands of pages of contractor proposals.
selection for the JPATS was completed in the summer of 1995. On June 22,
Raytheon Aircraft Company was selected as the JPATS contractor, and contract
award was slated to occur in August. However, protest actions were filed with
the General Accounting Office in July. On Nov. 22, 1995, and Feb. 5, 1996, the
GAO issued rulings that upheld the source selection decision.
awarded the contract Feb. 5, 1996. The US General Accounting Office denied
protests lodged by Cessna Aircraft Company against the selection of Raytheon,
and an earlier protest, lodged by Rockwell, was also denied. Reported results
demonstrate the cost of the protest in terms of government and contractor
In early 2001 the Navy decided to discontinue acquisition of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) for fiscal years 2002 through 2007. On 04 December 2001 the Air Force approved full-rate production for the JPATS."
* This material is quoted from: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/t-6.htm
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