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US Navy accepts first two Textron T-54 deliveries

The first of two Textron T-54s delivered to the US Navy, intended to replace the T-44s. The deliveries were announced on 22 April. (US Navy)

US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) accepted delivery of the first two Textron T-54 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, the service announced on 22 April. The aircraft are set to begin training students at NAS Corpus Christi's Training Air Wing Four in boreal spring 2025, the US Navy (USN) told Janes .

The USN intends to operate 64 of the Textron King Air 200-based aircraft, which will replace the Textron T-44 as the service's main twin-engine pilot training aircraft. Deliveries are set to run through 2026, and the aircraft is meant to operate until 2055.

“This aircraft brings modernised training to student naval aviators and prepares them for the advanced aircraft they will fly in the fleet,” said Captain Duane Whitmer, USN programme manager.

The T-54s will be used to train pilots from the USN, US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Coast Guard, who are training to fly multi-engine aircraft. These services operate large multi-engine fleets, and pilots will train on the T-54 for eventual transfer to fly the P-8, C-130, E-6, E-2, CMV-22, and MV-22, the USN said. The T-54s are equipped with ‘glass' multifunction displays, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) transponders, weather radar, and other modern systems that the ageing T-44s lack.

Although most such modifications are available to civilians, the T-54 also includes navy-requested equipment such as Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) systems, an ultra high-frequency/very-high-frequency (UHF/VHF) radio, angle-of-attack indicators, and a jump seat. The T-54s also include “conditions-based maintenance” equipment to gather data in anticipation of broken equipment.

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