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RTAF commissions 12 T-6C trainers

The Royal Thai Air Force's new Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft will be used to train student pilots for fighter and attack aircraft. (Textron Aviation Defense)

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has commissioned 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft into service.

The new acquisitions are slated to replace the RTAF's “[Pilatus] PC-9 aircraft that have completed their retirement after more than 30 years of aviation student training”, the RTAF said in a statement.

Following the commissioning of the aircraft on 22 August, the aircraft were deployed with the RTAF's Flying Training School at Kamphaeng Saen in Nakhon Pathom province, the RTAF added. In RTAF service, the aircraft has been redesignated as the T-6TH.

According to the air force, the acquisition of the T-6C was made following careful determination. Important criteria included the aircraft's ability to assimilate upgrades. The RTAF added that the aircraft is also able to measure and analyse pilot training effectively. Another factor was its reliable maintenance transmission system.

The acquisition is part of a USD162 million contract awarded to Beechcraft (a Textron Aviation subsidiary) in October 2020. The contract included ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance personnel, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts, and ground support equipment.

The first two T-6C aircraft were delivered to the RTAF on November 2022. According to Textron, the T-6C acquisition is the first RTAF procurement contracted in support of Thailand's ‘S-Curve 11' strategy. This plan supports the development of the Thai defence industry.

The T-6 is based on the PC-9. According to Janes

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