Like the CT-4E Airtrainers, above, they will replace, the new T-6C aircraft are expected to sport the yellow-and-black color scheme the Royal New Zealand Air Force has designated for trainers. (Royal New Zealand Air Force)
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WELLINGTON — New Zealand will buy 11 T-6C turboprop aircraft to be used for pilot training, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman announced.
The NZ $154 million (US$127 million) purchase “includes ground simulators, classroom and computer-based training packages to complement practical flying experience,” Coleman said Jan. 27 in a Defence Ministry news release.
The aircraft will be assembled in Wichita, Kan., and are expected to enter service with the Pilot Training School and the Central Flying School at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) Ohakea base in early 2016.
Flight simulators and other ground-based training devices will be installed at Ohakea by CAE Simulation (USA).
The T-6Cs are expected to produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 qualifying flying instructors per year over the next 30 years, Coleman said.
Currently, the RNZAF uses 13 single piston-engined CT-4E Airtrainers (in service since 1998) and four leased turboprop Beech King Air B200s for pilot training.
The T-6Cs will include Martin Baker ejection seats, digital avionics, including a head-up display, plus six underwing hard points, two of which are plumbed for fuel tanks. The RNZAF King Airs have digital avionics but not a head-up display, and neither they nor the Airtrainers have ejection seats or hard points.
Both fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilot training is conducted at Ohakea.
Coleman added that upgrades of New Zealand’s C-130H Hercules and P-3K2 Orion aircraft continue, and all five AgustaWestland A109 training/light utility helicopters and seven of the eight NH90 medium utility helicopters ordered have arrived in country.