Beechcraft said that it accomplished the first flight of a production AT-6 light attack aircraft in Wichita on Tuesday. The first flight of an AT-6 production representative test vehicle occurred in September 2009.
The AT-6, which is based on the T-6 Texan II turboprop trainer, is powered by the new Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, rated at 1,600 shp. It is equipped with “mission modified” Cockpit 4000 avionics from CMC Esterline, a Lockheed Martin A-10C-based mission system and L-3 Wescam MX-15Di sensor turret. The type has logged 1,600 flight hours on test aircraft.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force chose the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano over the AT-6 for its Light Air Support requirement and awarded A-29 proponent Sierra Nevada Corporation an initial $427 million contract for 20 aircraft. Beechcraft said it is currently offering the AT-6 to “U.S. partner nations in need of light attack air support for the most demanding scenarios.” In response to an inquiry, the company said that it expects to have a launch customer this year.