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Trainer Aircraft

Role: Trainer aircrafts are not deployed for missions, but are used within the military for training practice. These aircraft are usually modified to facilitate in-flight training with tandem or side-by-side seating configurations and equipped with programmable avionics emulators and simulator displays. Flight training (honing pilot skills) and operational training (developing combat techniques) are given in phases (basic, advanced, lead-in fighter, and finally operational conversion) wherein the aircraft trainer used increases in complexity (i.e. from gliders to aircraft with a simulated electronics suite and combat scenarios to an operational combat aircraft). Only the final candidates are allowed into operational conversion (actual combat training with an instructor inside a fully-functional aircraft).

Models in Service:

United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN)

F-5 Tiger II USN F-5F 3 Northrop Grumman The dual-engined, single-seat F-5 Tiger II platform is used to school U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps student aviators in adversary combat tactics. The F-5 Tiger II fleet simulates an enemy air-to-air combat squadron. Powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21C afterburning turbojet engines providing 5,000 pounds of thrust each, the F-5 Tiger II can reach speeds of Mach 1.64 at an operational ceiling of 36,000 feet to achieve complete fighter-combat mode. The delta-shaped F-5 Tiger II is designed for high maneuverability. For countermeasures, the F-5 Tiger II is fitted with a tactical air navigation (TACN) system, a GPS suite, electronic counter measures (ECM), and an inertial navigation system (INS). The F-5 Tiger II is ideal for the aggressor role.
F-5N 41
T-1 Jayhawk USAF T-1A 178 Beechcraft Used by the U.S. Air Force for advanced pilot training, the Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk dual-engined jet trainer is used to train pilots who have finished Primary in the Cessna T-37/T-34 aircraft and have elected to continue on the Airlift/Tanker track. Student aviators trained on the T-1 Jayhawk platform eventually go on to pilot tanker, t+ransport, and large cargo military aircraft. The T-1 Jayhawk replaced the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of T-39 Sabreliners. 180 units of the Jayhawk have been delivered to the U.S. Air Force between 1992 and 1997. The first delivery went to Reese Air Force Base, Texas. Today, Jayhawks are used to instruct student aviators at Laughlin AFB, Texas; Vance AFB, Oklahoma; Randolph, AFB, Texas; and Columbus AFB, Mississippi.
T-6 Texan II USAF T-6A 446, 49 Beechcraft Since it entered service in 2000, the proven T-6 Texan II platform has completed over 2 million flight hours. Built to last, the T-6 Texan II exceeds the U.S. Air Force’s required design life of 18,720 hours by threefold. As of today, Beechcraft has delivered over 800 units of the T-6 trainer aircraft. Back by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 turboprop engine providing 1,100 horsepower, the T-6 Texan II flies at a 9,449-meter ceiling at speeds of 1,173 meters per minute. In less than six minutes, the T-6 Texan II can ascend from sea level to a height of 15,000 feet. It was picked to fulfill the U.S. Navy’s and U.S. Air Force’s Joint Primary Aircraft Training System role.
USN T-6B 12
T-38 Talon USAF T-38A 6 Northrop Grumman The world’s first supersonic trainer, the Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon has trained more than 72,000 U.S. Air Force pilots since it entered service in 1961. Of the 1,200 Talon units delivered between 1961 to 1972, over 500 aircraft remain operational with the U.S. Air Force and NASA. The U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command utilize the T-38 Talon platform for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training (JSUPT). The branch’s Air Combat Command uses the Talon for its companion training program. The Air Force Material Command employs the T-38 Talon for experimental equipment testing. NASA trains its astronauts on the T-38 platform, which it also uses as observer aircraft for the shuttle program.
T-41 Mescalero USAF T-41C 4 Cessna The military variant of the popular Cessna 172 Skyhawk light general aviation aircraft, the Cessna T-41 Mescalero is the U.S. Air Force Academy’s plane of choice for training its cadets. The T-41 platform supports the Academy’s pilot indoctrination program which puts cadets in an aerial environment in order to experience the flight principles they learned in ground school. In 1964, the U.S. Air Force procured 170 T-41As. In 1967, the branch ordered 34 more units. In 1969, Cessna delivered 52 T-41Cs to the U.S. Air Force Academy. With a service ceiling of 13,100 feet, the Cessna T-41 Mescalero flies at speeds of 139 miles an hour for a range of 720 miles.
T-44 Pegasus USN T-44A 52 Beechcraft The dual-engined, pressurized T-44A Pegasus monoplane is employed by the U.S. Navy in support of its advanced maritime flight training program. The T-44A Pegasus platform trains student aviators to fly multi-engine turboprop aircraft like the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. Backed by two Pratt & Whitney PT-6A-34B 550-horsepower engines, the T-44A Pegasus flies at speeds of 245 knots at an operational ceiling of 31,300 feet for a range of 1,300 nautical miles. It has a wing span of 50 feet 3 inches and a height of 35 feet 6 inches.
T-45 Goshawk USN T-45C 218 Boeing Based on the legacy BAE Systems Hawk trainer aircraft, the Boeing T-45 Goshawk single-engined jet trainer is used by the U.S. Navy in its Advanced Jet Training Program and its Intermediate Jet Pilot Training Program—respectively replacing the Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk and North American/Rockwell/Boeing T-2 Buckeye in those roles. The branch’s T-45 Training System (T45TS) is the first entirely integrated system developed for the U.S. Navy for training purposes. Powered by an individual Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk-871 twin-spool turbofan engine, the T-45 Goshawk is backed by 26kN of thrust to fly at speeds of 620 miles per hour for a range of 1,550 miles. The two-seat T-45 Goshawk’s maiden flight occurred in 1988.
T-51 DeathHawk USAF T-51A 3 Cessna  The Cessna T-51 DeathHawk is based on the commercially successful Cessna 150 platform of which roughly 24,000 units have been built. The Cessna T-51 is operated by the U.S. Air Force Academy’s 55th Flying Training Squadron. In 1972, a group of cadets at the Academy established the Cadet Competition Flying Team (CCFT) and upgraded 3 Cessna 150s. These converted aircraft became the Cessna T-51s. The refurbished aircraft had their original Continental 100-horsepower engines replaced with Lycoming 0-320 150-horsepower engines. The Cessnas’ gross weight was augmented to 1,760 pounds. The three aircraft are designated N557SH, N557TH, and N557A. Only 18 cadets are accepted into the CCFT each year where they complete 75 to 100 flight hours in the T-51s.
T-52 USAF T-52A 20 Diamond Aircraft Primarily used for introductory flight training, the Diamond T-52A trainer aircraft supports the U.S. Air Force Academy’s AM-420 Powered Flight Program. Its two-seat cockpit is fitted with the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite, dual GPS, a traffic advisory system, and a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT). To keep it lightweight yet sturdy, the Diamond T-52 is manufactured from glass-fiber reinforced plastic. To minimize aerodynamic drag and fuel use, the Diamond T-52 is built without rivets and support structures. The aircraft is able to fly at top speeds of 178 knots at a 14,000-feet ceiling for a range of 785 nautical miles.
T-53 USAF T-53A 3 Cirrus Aircraft Based on the Cirrus SR20 composite monoplane, the Cirrus T-53A trainer supports the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Powered Flight Program. The Academy procured 25 Cirrus SR20 aircraft and labeled them as the T-53A trainers. The specially built T-53As delivered to the Academy are fitted with the trademarked Cirrus Perspective Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The Cirrus SR20 from which the T-53A is built upon is notable for being the first general aviation aircraft to deploy a parachute in the event of structural or systematic failure. The T-53A is integrated with the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics suite and a fuselage roll cage.
TU-2 Dragon Lady USAF TU-2S 5 Lockheed Martin The U.S. Air Force employs 5 TU-2 two-seat trainers. The branch’s handful of T-U2 trainers are deployed with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California. TU-2s specifically train future U-2 Dragon Lady pilots. Powered by a single General Electric F118-10 engine providing 17,000 pounds of thrust, the TU-2 flies at speeds in excess of 410 miles an hour for an operational range of 6,090 nautical miles. The T-U2’s history coincides with that of the Cold War. The aircraft carries an extensive 5,000-pound payload of reconnaissance equipment consisting of augmented SIGINT sensors, amplified radar sensors (AARS-2), seven-band multi-spectral SYERS-2 digital cameras, satellite communication, and numerous data links.


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