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U.S. Navy Awards Textron Multi-Engine Trainer Contract

T-54A to Supplant T-44 Pegasus

The U.S. Navy announced on 25 January 2023 that it had awarded Textron Aviation a single, firm-fixed-price contract to develop the T-54A Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft. Subject airplane will provide advanced instrument and multi-engine training to student naval aviators selected for multi-engine aircraft operations.

Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office manager Captain Holly Shoger stated: “The new METS aircraft will give us the ability to train pilots across the services with an advanced platform that better represents fleet aircraft. The T-54A will include the latest avionics and navigational updates, such as virtual reality and augmented reality devices, to ensure pilots are ready to face any challenges that come their way in tomorrow’s battlespace.”

The base $113.1-million contract is for ten aircraft. The contract’s total value, including options, is $677.2-million for the procurement of up to 64 aircraft, with deliveries to commence in 2024 and continue through 2026. In addition to the airplanes, the deal entails support equipment, spares, and initial aircraft and maintenance training.

The T-54A will replace the Beechcraft King Air C-90-based T-44 Pegasus training aircraft in which Navy pilots have trained since 1977. The new airplane’s pressurized, side-by-side cockpit will feature multifunction displays; redundant Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radios; an integrated Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS); Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B); Flight Management System (FMS); Weather Radar (WXR), Radar Altimeter (RA), and a Cockpit Data Recorder (CDR). What’s more, the T-54A’s in-built technology will capture data congruous with Conditioned-Based Maintenance Plus—a process by which the Navy is enabled to trend aircraft health over time for purpose of facilitating improved maintenance planning and efficiency.

The T-54A, by virtue of its robust, forward-thinking design, ample power, and contemporary avionics, promises to afford nascent Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard pilots the challenging, comprehensive, real-world training required to competently operate non-centerline thrust aircraft such as the E-2D Hawkeye, C-130 Hercules, and P-8 Poseidon. The venerable T-44C’s phase-out will begin approximately six-months after the first T-54A delivery.

The Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office (PMA-273) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland was chartered to develop a rigorous, carrier-capable Naval flight training curriculum by which student pilots and Undergraduate Military Flight Officers (UMFOs) acquire the aviation skills requisite the carrying out of current and future United States Naval missions.

FMI: www.navy.mil


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