The US Department of Defense has contracted Textron Aviation to produce and deliver 10 T-54A multi-engine training system (METS) aircraft for the US Navy.
The training jets will provide naval aviation students with advanced instrument and asymmetric multi-engine handling instruction.
The initial contract, worth $113.1 million, covers the development and acquisition of 10 jets, with an optional extension of up to $677.2 million for as many as 64 planes.
Textron Aviation had earlier told Seapower that it would pitch a modified King Air 260 turboprop aircraft for the program.
“The new METS aircraft will give us the ability to train pilots across the services with an advanced platform that better represents fleet aircraft,” Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office (PMA-273) program manager Capt. Holly Shoger said.
To Replace T-44 Pegasus Aircraft
The T-54A METS is intended to replace the navy’s current T-44 Pegasus aircraft.
The new trainer will feature a flight management system, an integrated global positioning system/inertial navigation system, multifunction displays with a digital moving map, and redundant ultra-high frequency and very high frequency radios.
It will also include automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast and be used “to train Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard pilots to fly non-centerline thrust aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey, E-2D Hawkeye, C-130 Hercules and P-8 Poseidon,” the US Navy explained.
“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,” Shoger said.
Textron’s METS aircraft will also include technology to monitor the platform’s health to optimize maintenance.
Deliveries are scheduled from 2024 to 2026, according to the navy, with the T-44Cs beginning retirement six months after the first METS delivery.