Cobham Aerospace has been chosen to upgrade ADS-B capabilities for the US Government’s T-6A trainer fleet. 

Working with Scientific Research Corporation (SRC), they will retrofit over 500 aircraft and aircrew training devices with Cobham’s RMS 555 Radio Management System ADS-B Out control solution, which avoids the need to install additional transponder control display units and associated wiring, greatly simplifying the modification say the company.

The Beechcraft T-6A Texan II is a single-engine turboprop trainer aircraft originally designed by the Raytheon Aircraft Company.

The T-6A is used by the United States Air Force for basic pilot training and Combat Systems Officer training, and by the U.S. Navy and US Marine Corp for primary and intermediate Naval Flight Officer Training.

The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engine turboprop aircraft built by the Raytheon Aircraft Company. A trainer aircraft based on the Pilatus PC-9, the T-6 has replaced the US Air Force’s Cessna T-37B Tweet and the Navy’s T-34C Turbo Mentor. The T-6A is used by the United States Air Force and by the Royal Canadian Air Force, Greek Air Force, Israeli Air Force, and Iraqi Air Force for basic flight training.

The T-6B is the primary trainer for US student naval aviators. The T-6C is used for training by the Mexican Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Moroccan Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.


  1. Are these the aircraft replacing Tucano as the RAFs fixed wing trainer under MFTS?

    And how many are we getting?

    10. Let that sink in.

    10 replacing 100 plus Tucano.

    Nice work HMG.

    • Well the thing is 10 T6c are not replacing 100 Tucano that is not how the UKMFTS contract works.

      To break it down a bit, UK government purchased 100 Tucano back in the 1980’s. That number was purchased due to the UK having a larger front line fleet and requiring more trained pilots. As the UK was buying those Tucano it needed to buy enough to service training with a large enough reserve in storage to rotate through squadron and maintenance to ensure a reasonable OSD. (Funny side fact, not one of those Shorts Tucano had an airframe that was the same length being in effect hand built leading to all sorts of problems if there was a squadron line up for a big wig)

      The T6c for UKMFTS are not being purchased by UK gov, they are being purchased by Ascent the consortium that won the 25 year PFI. Ascent has to guarantee that it can pass a certain number of students per year through training as set out in their contract with the MOD. For a private company buying 100+ trainer aircraft would be a needless waste of resources as they would have to pay for storage and upgrades on those airframes that are not being used. Their contract states they have to pass up to 250 students a year through training (running at 230 at the moment as the service runs up). For Ascent it makes more sense to buy less airframes, work them harder then replace with new as needed. It is no concern of the MOD how many T6c that Ascent operate as long as the meet the annual target to pass pilots through training.

      It is also important to note that the 40 new Grob G120TP/Prefect T.1 are far more modern turboprop machines with a fully digital cockpits that can perform part of the syllabus that once would have had to wait until the pilot transitions to the Tucano. On top of that UKMFTS includes 20 hours of synthetic training at Cranwell using modern simulators. So a pilot arriving at Valley now will have done 40 hours on the Prefect T.1 and 20 hours on the sims having covered some of the Syllabus that once would of had to wait until Lynton-on-Ouse.

      A pilot once at Valley will pass through the syllabus faster with the aid of sims and transfer to the Hawk T.2 faster. The idea being also that those who could potentially wash out are identified earlier. This means in theory a smaller fleet of T6c are required to do a more streamlined syllabus.

      Now don’t get me wrong the UKMFTS PFI has been troubled but that Ascent is not buying a like for like number of T6c vs Tucano is perfectly logical when how the contract works is taken into account. If Ascent finds it can’t pass enough pilots through the Syllabus as stated in their contract due to lack of T6c then it is up to them to buy more, HMG doesn’t come into the equation.

      • Thanks Fedaykin.

        Wondered whether 10 was enough for the pilots needed.

        Understood. In fact I recall the Tucano order was way over 100.

        Yes I was aware these are COMO aircraft that the RAF don’t own.

        Didn’t know the Grob replacement for the UAS and AEFs had that capability, indeed mitigates somewhat.

        Or the wing…

        • Wing? Fuselage!

          Another thought. 40 Prefects. How are they split amongst the varied UAS around the country? Again replacing a higher number of Grobs.

          Will all UAS get a complement? I know there was talk of centralizing the UAS at Wyton and now Wittering.

          • Well I think we are a long way off UKMFTS being classed as a success. The multi engine pipeline is particularly troubled due to poor availability of the Phenom and training is still at Linton-On-Ouse with the Tucano. The T6c has only recently arrived at Valley and we are way off seeing if 10 airframes is enough.

            Time will tell.

  2. The Israelis also own 28 of them. I used to take care of those logistics wise. They woulldn’t let our firm use U.S. contractors to maintain them. We had to set up an entire Israel based subsidiary with only Israeli citizens allowed to touch. Say what you want about the country but they take their security with the utmost seriousness for obvious reasons.


    • They don’t just apply thise rules to the military contracts. if you want to do business with them in banking and finance you have to setup an Israeli entity that is managed by Israeli’s they won’t deal with anyone else end of story.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here