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Textron Delivers Final T-6c Texan II to Tunisia

The eighth and final Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop trainer on order for Tunisia has been delivered to the Tunisian Air Force’s No 13 Squadron at Sfax Airbase, the aircraft’s manufacturer, Textron Aviation Defense, announced on 10 August 2023. The eight T-6C Texan II next-generation training aircraft are set to play a crucial role in Tunisia’s ambitious 2030 Aviation Modernisation Plan. The news comes just a few weeks after the US handed over the first four of eight T-6C trainer aircraft to Tunisia.

As part of a a $136 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract, Textron Aviation Defense was selected to supply eight T-6C Texan II advanced military training aircraft. This contract encompasses a suite of support services, including in-country field service, logistics support representatives, programme management support, and interim contractor assistance during the first year of operation. There were aircraft that completed the Textron production line in Sept and October 2022, but remained in the US and under the control of Textron Aviation (USG Control) until the ferry window opened up in March 2023 across the Atlantic.

In 2019, Tunisia requested a possible sale of twelve (12) T-6C Texan trainer aircraft from the United States to will replace Tunisia’s aging trainer fleet and allow Tunisia to continue training pilots to support Tunisia’s counter-terrorism and border security missions. Tunisia will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft into its armed forces. The first Beechcraft T-6C Texan II Integrated Training System was delivered to the Tunisian Air Force in support of operations at No. 13 Squadron at Sfax Air Base in Tunisia in November last year.

In May, Tunisian pilots completed an intensive one-month training program on the T-6C Texan II aircraft. The training took place at the renowned Beechcraft factory in Wichita, Kansas, USA, from March through to April 2023. The Tunisian Air Force can now boast a group of highly skilled pilots who have successfully completed the T-6 Initial Cadre Instructor Pilot Training, equipping them with invaluable expertise on the T-6C Texan II aircraft.

The Beechcraft T-6C Texan II is designed and manufactured by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Textron Aviation Defense LLC. Textron Aviation Inc. stands as the parent company of Textron Inc. The next-generation training aircraft are set to play a crucial role in Tunisia’s ambitious 2030 Aviation Modernisation Plan.

Brett Pierson, the president and CEO of Textron Aviation Defense, expressed his pride in the induction of the Beechcraft T-6C into Tunisian Air Force pilot production. “It’s an honour to celebrate the induction of the Beechcraft T-6C into Tunisian Air Force pilot production. The world’s most advanced global air forces and pilots trust us to deliver a great aircraft that enables them to make the world a better, more secure place. Our world-class workforce goes above and beyond to design, manufacture, deliver and support the world’s premier military flight trainer. It is an honour that partner nations continue to put their confidence in the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II as the gold standard in training capabilities.”

By incorporating the T-6C, the country aims to modernise its pilot training programmes, equipping future generations of Tunisian aviators with a more advanced capability. The T-6C is designed for all instruction levels. It is an improved version of the T-6B with underwing hardpoints, targeted for export customers. The T-6C covers a range of tasks from initial pilot screening to advanced operational training. The impact of this deal extends beyond Tunisia’s borders, as it paves the way for enhanced interoperability between Tunisian forces and their counterparts in the US and NATO.

In addition to aircraft delivery, the agreement encompasses training for pilots and maintenance professionals, spare engines, spare parts, and aircraft support equipment. Speaking at a 17 July 2023 event marking the arrival of the first four T-6C aircraft, US Ambassador to Tunisia Joey R Hood stated, “Tunisia plays an important role in ensuring not only its own national security but also that of northern Africa and the continent as a whole.” He reiterated the US commitment to supporting Tunisia’s efforts to strengthen its air force’s capacity to respond both to security and humanitarian needs.

No 13 Squadron currently operates 17 SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 piston-engine-powered basic trainers, while Tunisia’s jet trainer fleet consists of nine Aero L-59Ts. The T-6Cs are expected to replace both of these types. The T-6Cs will also serve as lead-in trainers for the four Beechcraft AT-6E Wolverine light attack aircraft Tunisia have on order, the sale of which was approved in February 2020. The T-6C and AT-6 share an 85% commonality in structure, avionics, and other systems.