Hawker Beechcraft has flown the first AT-6 Texan II production representative test vehicle (PRTV) powered by the 1,600 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68D engine – packing 500 shp more than the standard engine. The structurally beefed-up variant of the T-6A/B trainer is aimed at the USAF’s Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) role, the acquisition phase for which is expected to be launched this year.
The initial PRTV aircraft, fitted with Lockheed Martin’s A-10 based mission avionics upgrade, has been developed concurrently. Dubbed AT-1, this is being used to integrate the mission system with the Texan’s CMC Electronics digital cockpit avionics and displays.
Embraer’s EMB-314 Super Tucano is competing for the 100-aircraft LAAR contest – aimed at finding an aircraft for irregular warfare operations. Both will be flown by the Air National Guard in an operational evaluation this coming summer. The aircraft will be fitted with an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/IR sensor under the fuselage, data links, countermeasures and weapons on six hardpoints.