The first two Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainers for the Royal New Zealand Air Force touched down at Whenuapai, RNZAF Base Auckland this week at the end of their 20 stop delivery flight from Wichita, Kansas.
The two aircraft will be formally handed over to the RNZAF in October after intial pilot and maintenance training is completed. To be based at Ohakea, all 11 T-6Cs on order are due to be delivered by June 2015, allowing the first RNZAF pilot training course on the aircaft to begin in early 2016.
“It is great to see the first T-6C aircraft arrive in New Zealand just seven months after Beechcraft Defense Company was awarded the contract to deliver a new effective military pilot training system,” Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said in a statement.
“This project is a good example of smart and efficient procurement. The NZ$154 million pilot training package will deliver a modern reliable training system ensuring our military pilots are trained to the highest performance and safety standards.”
The T-6C was ordered in January to replace the RNZAF’s CT-4E and some King Air 200s in the basic and advanced training roles. As well as aircraft the acquisition includes simulators and classroom and computer-based training devices.