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Navy League 2023: Textron to deliver first T-54A trainer in early 2024

Textron Aviation will provide a modified version of its Beechcraft King Air 260 for the US Navy's T-54A Multi-Engine Training System aircraft. (Textron Aviation)

US-based Textron is on track to begin delivering the new T-54A Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft to the US Navy in early 2024, according to company programme manager Chad Hines.

Textron hosted a post-contract award conference with the navy in early March and is in the “final stages of production planning”, Hines told Janes on 5 April at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2023 conference held in National Harbor, Maryland. The T-54A will incorporate several commercial modifications into Textron's existing Beechcraft King Air 260 commercial turboprop.

Among the modifications are an angle of attack indicator, a digital audio control system to allow pilots to communicate with their onboard observer, additional seating for very important persons (VIPs), and a monitoring system to provide real-time data to maintenance crews.

Textron considers the programme low-risk because it built and demonstrated a production-like aircraft as part of the contract proposal process. “We've already developed the product and now we're just incorporating [it] into the production build,” Hines said.

In January 2023, the navy awarded a contract to Textron worth up to USD677.2 million to build up to 64 T-54As, with an initial order of 10 aircraft. Textron will build the aircraft on an existing commercial aircraft production line in Wichita, Kansas. The navy's recently released fiscal year 2024 budget request shows the first T-54A is scheduled for delivery in January 2024.

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