Textron Delivers First Two Beechcraft King Air 260 Training Jets to US Navy

The US Navy has received its first two Beechcraft King Air 260 aircraft from Textron Aviation as part of a 2023 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) contract.

The planes will be used by Training Squadrons 31 and 35, drilling a new generation of naval aviators in preparation for their piloting assessments for other aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon, E-2D Hawkeye, and C-130 Hercules.

The delivery is part of a deal that covers the acquisition of up to 64 T-54As to further modernize the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard training environment by replacing the T-44C Pegasus trainer planes in service since the 1970s.

Awarded through an open competition, last year’s agreement initially ordered 10 King Air 260s and associated support. Deliveries are scheduled between 2024 and 2026.

The King Air 260s will be designated as T-54A under the Naval Air Training Command and stationed at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas.

“The T-54A benefits from an active Beechcraft King Air assembly line in Wichita, Kansas, where all required METS avionics and interior modifications are installed on the line; keeping costs down, aircraft conformity consistent across the fleet and optimizing the delivery schedule to the Navy,” Textron Aviation Special Missions Sales VP Bob Gibbs stated.

“We are thrilled to continue our 47-year relationship of Textron Aviation aircraft conducting multi-engine flight training for Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Aviators.”

Beechcraft King Air 260 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) T-54A for the U.S. Navy
Beechcraft King Air 260 Multi-Engine Training System (T-54A aircraft). Photo: Textron Aviation

New and Improved Trainers

The T-54A is equipped with the Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, an adaptive avionics system with touch-control primary flight displays for increased efficiency and predictability during flights.

The METS also boasts greater range, speed, and altitude compared to the T-44C.

Additionally, it features an integrated GPS/inertial navigation system, digital moving maps, and redundant ultra-high frequency and very high frequency radios.

Naval Aviator and instructor pilot Lieutenant Mike Stengel said the planes underline the advancements present in the force’s modernization efforts.

“This aircraft will lead the way for the next generation of multi-engine aviators. It has been a very rewarding and humbling experience to be a part of the METS team and it will be one of the highlights of my career,” Stengel said.

Ground-Based Trainers

The King Air 260s’ arrival followed a separate contract signed by Textron segment TRU Simulation + Training Inc. last month.

This project will supply fully integrated ground-based training solutions for the METS program, including a base delivery of three King Air 260 standard configuration simulators, a METS T-54A operational flight training simulator, corresponding support stations, and 21 desktop avionics trainers.

Shipping will begin next year and continue until 2026.

METS T-54A Aircraft

The US Navy’s upcoming T-54A fleet is expected to be operational for about three decades.

Each T-54A measures 43 feet (13 meters) and has a wingspan of 57 feet (17 meters).

It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-52 engines for a speed of up to 259 knots (480 kilometers/298 miles per hour), an altitude of up to 35,000 feet (10,668 meters), and a range of 1,640 nautical miles (3,000 kilometers/1890 miles).

Related Articles

Back to top button