Modified USAF T-1A Aircraft

Field Aerospace
Oklahoma City, OK

Field Aerospace recently completed the first flight of a U.S. Air Force (USAF) T-1A aircraft with a modernized flight deck. The first fully modified Combat System Officer (CSO) aircraft flew two successful consecutive check flights from Field Aerospace's Oklahoma City facility.

Last spring, the USAF awarded Field Aerospace a contract to modernize the avionics on the entire T-1A trainer fleet of 178 aircraft plus 30 training devices. The fleet comprises CSO and Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) aircraft. Working with subcontractors Nextant Aerospace, Collins Aerospace, HEBCO and FlightSafety International, Field Aerospace served as the prime contractor for this flight deck modification program. Field Aerospace's modernization included updating the avionics suite and adding Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, eliminating avionics obsolescence issues for the aging aircraft.

The T-1A Jayhawk aircraft are medium-range, twin-engine jets used for advanced-phase training of airlift and tanker pilots. It is also used to support navigator training for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and international services. Designed and built by Raytheon Corp., the swept-wing T-1A is a military version of the Beech 400A. It has cockpit seating for an instructor and two students and is powered by twin turbo-fan engines capable of an operating speed of 538 mph. Most of the USAF T-1A fleet supports SUPT, with the balance used for CSO training. The first T-1A was delivered to Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in 1992 and student training began in 1993. They are currently stationed across five U.S. operating bases: Columbus AFB in Mississippi; Laughlin AFB in Texas; Vance AFB in Oklahoma; Randolph AFB in Texas, where it is used to train instructor pilots; and at Naval Air Station Pensacola, in Florida where it is used for combat systems officer training.

The modernization includes updating the fleet to the Collins Aerospace Pro Line 21TM system and enables the T-1A fleet to meet the FAA's ADS-B Out mandate to support the trainer’s standing requirement to access the National Airspace System.

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