Royal Thai Air Force fleet of 12 Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II nearing manufacturing completion

Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya, an F-16 pilot in the Royal Thai Air Force, prepares to fly the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II during his November 2021 visit to Textron Aviation Defense in Wichita, Kansas.
Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya, an F-16 pilot in the Royal Thai Air Force, prepares to fly the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II during his November 2021 visit to Textron Aviation Defense in Wichita, Kansas.

Textron Aviation Defence LLC today announced the fleet of 12 Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II aircraft is nearing manufacturing completion and surpassing technical inspection milestones ahead of schedule. The $162 million contract, which RTAF awarded in October 2020, features 12 aircraft as well as ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts and ground support equipment. The work in support of this contract is taking place at the company’s Wichita, Kansas facilities.

The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Defence LLC, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.

“The Royal Thai Air Force is eager to equip its cadre of student pilots with the Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II aircraft,” said Betsy Relph, the Textron Aviation Defense T-6 program manager for Thailand. “We showcased all 12 of the aircraft during a recent visit from the RTAF acceptance committee and are especially proud that RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya was here to fly the T-6.”

Slated to arrive at the Royal Thai Air Force Flying Training School located at Kamphaeng Saen Air Base between late 2022 and early 2023, the aircraft are on schedule as they progress down the production line.

“Flying the RTAF Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II from the historic hangar where the entire global fleet of T-6 aircraft are manufactured was a very memorable milestone,” said RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya. “These aircraft will equip our students with a significant technological advantage in preparation for their transition to advanced fighter and attack aircraft.”

The Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II holds the distinction of being the first RTAF procurement contracted in support of S-Curve 11, a Thai plan that focuses on the modernization of key capabilities and promotes the development of the Thai defense industry.

To date, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II has logged more than 4.6 million flight hours across a global fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft and achieves daily readiness rates of up to 91 percent among the Textron Aviation Defence-supported international T-6 fleet. Each year more than 300 pilots from 42 countries graduate from T-6 training via the NATO Flight Training program in Canada, the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB in Texas and the U.S. Air Force Aviation Leadership Program. Another 2,000-plus pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard while more than 2,700 pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the Hellenic Air Force, the Argentine Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Mexican Navy, the Mexican Air Force, the Royal Moroccan Air Force, the Colombian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.                                                             

The RTAF also recently awarded Textron Aviation Defence a $143 million contract for an Integrated System in support of the 41st Wing light attack operations at Chiang Mai Air Base. The historic contract for eight Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft, ground support equipment, spare parts, training, and other equipment establishes Thailand as the international launch customer for the USAF’s latest light attack aircraft. The procurement of the AT-6 — designated the Beechcraft AT-6TH in Thailand — supports the S-Curve 11 plan and the mutual defence cooperation between the U.S. and Thailand.

About the Beechcraft AT-6TH Wolverine & Beechcraft AT-6E Wolverine

Purpose-built for light attack, counter-insurgency and Countering Violent Extremist Organizations (C-VEO) missions, the high performance, low risk Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine capitalizes on the proven heritage of the T-6 Texan II and delivers 4th generation capabilities at 2nd generation acquisition, operating and sustainment costs. The U.S. Air Force is the first U.S. operator of the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine and Thailand is the first international operator.

About the Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II & Beechcraft T-6C Texan II

Purpose-built for a wide range of capabilities, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II prepares military pilots for real-world missions. Tens of thousands of aviators worldwide have begun their aviation careers in the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II. Textron Aviation Defence designed each training capability – from initial pilot screens to advanced operational training – to support military requirements, equipping pilots with the expertise and confidence to graduate and achieve success in their next phase of training. In operation across two NATO military flight schools and 12 nations, the global fleet of nearly 1,000 T-6s has surpassed 4.6 million flight hours and achieves daily readiness rates of up to 91% among the international T-6 fleet. Thailand is the first Asian nation and the eleventh international fleet operator of the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II.