New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced that the RNZAF will acquire 11 Beechcraft T-6C turboprop trainers as part of a NZ$154 million training package.
The announcement says the aircraft are part of a larger training system. “This modern, safe and reliable pilot training system will enable our military pilots to be trained to the highest standards, and is in line with the training systems used in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada,” Dr Coleman said in a January 27 statement. “The (NZ)$154 million package includes ground simulators, classroom and computer based training packages to complement practical flying experience in turbo-prop T-6C aircraft. The T-6C has a proven track record in service with other militaries, and meets the NZDF’s performance and safety standards.”
The simulators will be acquired from CAE Simulation to subcontract to Beechcraft. CAE Australia will support the simulators and Safe Air will provide maintenance support to the aircraft at Ohakea.
Aircrew training for the RNZAF is currently conducted on CT-4E piston trainers and Beechcraft B200 King Airs, but both of these types are due to be withdrawn by 2018. “The new system is expected to be operational for the first trainee intake in early 2016,” dr Coleman added. “It is estimated it will produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 Qualifying Flying Instructors per year over the next 30 years.”