US Navy takes delivery of new T-54A multi-engine trainer aircraft

U.S. Navy photo

The United States Navy has received the first two T-54A aircraft, set to replace the T-44C Pegasus that has served as a multi-engine trainer since 1977. 

After taking delivery of the two aircraft from Textron Aviation in Wichita, Kansas, US Navy pilots ferried them to Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, which houses Training Air Wing 4, on April 18, 2024.  

“We produce the best multi-engine pilots in the world,” said Captain Michael Albus, US Navy Training Air Wing 4 commander. “The T-54A will be the training aircraft to carry that legacy into the future. With its ProLine Fusion avionics suite, combined with increased range, speed, and altitude, the T-54A will ensure that our aviators are well-prepared to operate complex fleet aircraft, and are ready for tomorrow’s challenges in a multi-domain environment.” 

Contracted by the US Navy in early 2023, Textron will provide up to 64 King Air 260 aircraft to be designated as T-54A in the Navy’s training fleet. The T-54A will train pilots within the US Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and US allies to operate multi-engine aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. As more T-54A aircraft join the fleet, the T-44C Pegasus will be gradually phased out. 

Military operators worldwide use the Beechcraft King Air in various roles. The French Air Force employs a militarized version of the King Air 350 as a light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft named ASLR Vader. Similarly, the Royal Air Force uses a variant called Avenger T1 to train its helicopter observers. 

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