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First RNZAF T-6Cs touch down

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 22, 2014

Touching down at Whenuapai
Touching down at Whenuapai

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.

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Comments (14)

  • adammudhen


    Good for them. No matter how comfy that Martin-Baker seat was, you’d have a sore arse for a week or so after landing 🙂

  • Ascot


    Are 11 T-6 realy going to be enough? With the capabilites of T-6

  • William Reid


    It’s good to see a brand new aircraft, it’s been ages since new Zealand brought new aircraft and the scheme is awesome to. Next thing is C17s to replace the c130, p8 to replace the p3k2 then new Zealand will have a good modern air force. Air combat won’t come back to service which be a shame

  • TomcatTerry


    Air combat capability? Surely the Americans would allow the Australians to sell Hornets with reasonable hours left on them once the Lightning II’s start arriving

  • William Reid


    Maybe, but the RAAF will be keeping the F and G even when the RAAF get the F-35. Personally the F-35 is the most expensive paper weight ever made. According to the latest report about the F-35 is that it will never will love up to the standards that Lockheed said it would. I also think it’s lifetime is way shorter than the hornets.

  • RustedHalo


    Absolutely unbelievable that a country like New Zealand has no fighter/bomber aircraft at all. Criminal.

  • Raymond


    Ascot – hopefully the Kiwis are happy with their T-6 purchase and the RNZAF orders additional T-6′s in the AT-6C variant which will also provide some CAS and light attack capability.

    William Reid – I don’t think you will see C-17’s in NZ service; they aren’t exactly the most pertinent choice for a small country with a very limited defence budget and production is ending next year. It’s more likely that either the A400M or the C-130J will replace their H model Hercs.

    TomcatTerry – yes, as I have suggested in AA comments previously, I think the possibility of ex-RAAF Hornets going to the RNZAF once the F-35 is in service is not fanciful. Ex-Aussie A-4’s went the same way and by 2021 it will be 20 years since NZ’s air combat capability was disbanded; wouldn’t surprise me if there was a re-evaluation and re-think on the other side of the ditch, especially if the Hornet deal was juicy. I would even be betting that the RAAF and RNZAF have already discussed it. I suppose a lot will depend on how well the NZ economy travels between now and then. Heck, we might even see Hornets back here at Nowra doing RAN fleet support!

  • Glen


    I can’t see New Zealand having a jet strike wing ever again it would be just too expensive and diffcult to restart something that they lost such a long time ago.

  • John N



    Ex-RAAF Hornets in NZ service? Mate, sorry to burst your bubble but that is fanciful. It’s about as fanciful as Australia ever beating NZ (in NZ) at Rugby Union, never going to happen!!

    Are you talking about Classic or Super Hornets? Let’s start with the Classic Hornets, by the time the last of them leave RAAF service in 2022, the ‘youngest’ airframe will be 30+ years old. Even if we ‘gift’ a couple of Sqn’s worth (enough for an operational Sqn plus plenty of airframes to cannibalize for parts), how much flying time do you think those airframes have left on them? Not much I would suspect, which would mean that NZ would have to spend buckets of money on a life extension program, that would be hugely expensive. And let’s not forget that during the 2020’s most of the Classic operators will be starting to retire their fleets, so it will become an even more expensive task to be operating ‘orphan’ aircraft that the industrial support infrastructure no longer exists for.

    As for the Super Hornets, it appears more than likely they will stay in RAAF service till at least 2030, that is 16 years away! Yes they will no doubt have far more airframe life left, but that is way way to far into the future to know what will happen, my crystal ball certainly starts to get very foggy at that point in the future!

    So if NZ is going to have fast jets, then it will also need to invest in a fast jet trainer fleet too (pilots can’t just transition from a T-6C to a fast combat jet!), the costs just keep growing, operate, support, sustain both fast combat and training jets, air and ground crews, spares, weapons, etc, etc, the list goes on.

    And then of course there is the politics, NZ politics is a vastly different environment to here in Oz, for the most part we have a bi-partisan approach to Defence, in NZ both sides (and minor parties they potential have to side up to), to form Government have vastly differing opinions on defence and defence spending, that in itself is a massive hurdle to NZ ever having a fast jet combat fleet again.

    The NZ armed forces are going to have a hard enough time getting enough money out of their Government to replace all the current Air Force, Navy and Army assets that they currently operate with equivalent equipment into the future, let alone ever find the vast sums of money to operate, support and sustain fast combat and trainer jets, even if we ‘gift’ them a bunch of second hand Hornets.

    Anyway……. as for the T-6C’s, seems to be a good purchase,for the reasonably small about of money (by Oz standards) spent.

    And I think I’d rather put my money on Australia beating NZ in NZ at Rugby any day of the week over NZ getting into the fast jet business again!!


    John N

  • Angelo calleja


    NZ is playing the save game, really NZ if Thay continue to play the present political practice, they only need to maintain proficiency, trainers is the way to go and short range transports.

  • Michael


    I notice a lot of negative comments on this site against the RNZAF no longer having an air combat capability. But really can you blame them. Think about it:

    1.) Their country is located at the bottom of the world out of range of any significant conventional military strike that could be conducted by a power other than the US. I think even the US would struggle with the logistics chain if we were to be left out of it.

    2.) Unlike us these days they don’t go jumping out of their seats to join the yanks in their various warmongering pursuits at every opportunity.

    So what do they need an air combat capability for? To defend us in case we get attacked? Add there little firecrackers to the mix shall they.

    Put yourself in their shoes.

  • David Dunn.


    Great to see the T6 C aircraft are arriving, Now for an increase on that order.. Perhaps these will give pilots more inititive to become a Military Pilot. One can only hope that at the end of life these machines will be flying with the Warbird fraternity..

    D P Dunn.

  • Chris R


    A Strke capability would be far less relevant than an update of the transport (130J,A400?) and Maritime Patrol fleets given the size of our EEZ and the damage being done to fisheries by foreign boats around the Pacific. Updated P3s are great but too few and still an aging airframe.
    An idea; start an ANZAC Maritime force in which NZ funds, crews, and operates 3-4 P8s within the RAAF infrastructure (Kiwi markings optional) and add a low end capability (Dash8?) via the existing Aussie Coastwatch. Hell, we could even offer to fuel, crew, bombup, and maintain 3-4 F18s as an incentive to the RNZAF boys and solve some of the RAAF crewing issues. Interoperability and a pragmatic realisation that we aint going anywhere unless the Aussies are going too suggest that NZ militarily becomes a subset of the Oz military with Kiwi roundels.

  • macho4050


    As a user I assure that machine is a piece of art for training (initia
    l and basic phase).IP’s and students are going to love it! !!!

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