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New military pilot training aircraft arrive in NZ

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Defence


22 August 2014

Media Statement
New military pilot training aircraft arrive in NZ

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the arrival of the first two new Air Force T-6C pilot training aircraft is an important milestone.

“It is great to see the first T-6C aircraft arrive in New Zealand just seven months after Beechcraft Defense Company was awarded the contract to deliver a new effective military pilot training system,” says Dr Coleman.

“This project is a good example of smart and efficient procurement. The $154 million pilot training package will deliver a modern reliable training system ensuring our military pilots are trained to the highest performance and safety standards.

“The T-6C aircraft has a proven track record with other militaries, and it will be a great addition to our Air Force capability. The T-6C will provide the basic training for all military pilots to prepare them for the Air Force’s new and upgraded aircraft.”

The first two of eleven Beechcraft turbo-prop T-6C Texan II aircraft arrived at Whenuapai this week from Wichita, Kansas. The journey to New Zealand involved 20 stopovers in a range of locations.

The aircraft will be handed over to the Air Force in October after the completion of maintenance training and pilot conversion courses. All eleven aircraft are expected to be delivered by June 2015, and the new system is due to be operational for the first trainee intake in early 2016.

The training package includes ground simulators, classroom and computer based training packages to complement practical flying experience. Flight simulators and ground based training devices are being installed at Ohakea by CAE Simulation. Maintenance and support will include subcontract support from CAE Australia and NZ Safe Air Limited for the next 30 years.

Pilot training is currently conducted using the single engine CT-4E Airtrainers and the twin engined turbo-prop King Air B200s. The service life of the CT-4Es is due to end in 2018, and the King Air B200s lease expires in 2018.

The Government is investing over $2 billion to upgrade the Air Force’s fleet with new A109 and NH90 helicopters, and upgrades to the C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orions.

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