First TAW-4 Beechcraft T-54A delivered to NAS Corpus Christi

Gepubliceerd op 30 april 2024 om 10:17

© Ensign Alan Wang / US Navy

On 17 and 18 April 2024, the first two Beechcraft T-54A multi-engine aircraft landed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi (TX). This marks the beginning of a new era for Naval Aviators who will utilise this trainer to earn their wings of gold, preparing to pilot aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon, E-2D Hawkeye, and C-130 Hercules. The T-54A replaces the T-44C Pegasus, a fixture in naval service since 1977.

Serial of the first two aircraft are: BuNo 170744 (c/n BY-470) and BuNo 170745 (c/n BY-471). It is not yet known which code series the new aircraft will receive.

This event is not only historic for Training Air Wing Four (TAW-4) but for the entire naval air training enterprise. The T-54A is the first aircraft of Chief of Naval Air Training’s (CNATRA) fleet of over 650 to feature a glossy grey paint scheme, a departure from the previous standard. 

This paint scheme, introduced alongside a 'Midway' blue coat for CNATRA’s T-6B Texan II aircraft, aims to re-establish a connection between students and instructors with the fleet. The glossy grey colour mirrors the paint coats of the P-8A Poseidon and E-2D Hawkeye.

As more T-54A aircraft are introduced, the T-44C Pegasus will gradually phase out. Coupled with the ongoing repaint of T-6B Texan II aircraft, fewer orange-and-white planes will dot the South Texas sky. New students in the advanced stage of training for multi-engine platforms will immediately begin their training on the T-54A as others transition away from the T-44C. The new training aircraft will be operated by Training Squadron (VT) 31 Wise Owls and Training Squadron (VT) 35 Stingrays.

The T-54A will provide advanced instrument and asymmetric engine handling training to student naval aviators selected for multi-engine fleet communities. The base contract, valued at USD 113 million, is for the initial ten aircraft. The total contract value, including options, encompasses the procurement of up to 64 aircraft, valued at USD 677 million, covering support equipment, spares, and initial training.

Aircraft deliveries are scheduled from 2024 to 2026 and are divided into three Lots: Lot I consisting of 10x T-54A, Lot II with 27x T-54A, and Lot III with 27x T-54A.

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