New RAF Texan II training aircraft on their way to RAF Valley

On 28 October 2020, the delivery flight of four new T-6C Texan II aircraft for the Royal Air Force commenced at the Beech Factory Airport, Wichita (KS).

They made their way to the northeast via Des Moines (IA), Ottawa (Canada) and Goose Bay (Canada). From there they continued to Keflavik (Iceland) and they touched down on British soil for the first time at Glasgow during the early evening on 31 October 2020.

The aircraft are expected to complete their journey to RAF Valley on Monday 2 November 2020. Known details of the aircraft involved are as follows: ZM340 (construction number PM-137, N2786B), ZM341 (c/n PM-138, N2789B), ZM342 (c/n PM-139, N2790B) and ZM343 (c/n PM-144, N2811B).

These four aircraft will join the ten Texan T1 (RAF designation) aircraft already on strength with 72 squadron at RAF Valley.

The Texan II was selected under the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) project as replacement of the Tucano T1. The trainers are used in the Basic Fast Jet Training role and once students successfully complete this course they proceed to the Hawk T2 for the Advanced Fast Jet Training course.

The helicopter fleet of the UKMFTS recently also received additional airframes when four Jupiter HT1 (Airbus H145) helicopters were delivered. All four were delivered from the production line at Donauwörth (Germany) to Airbus at Kidlington (UK) on 31 March 2020.

From there they were first delivered to RAF Shawbury and so far three of four continued to RAF Valley. The serials for the new Jupiter HT1 helicopters are: ZM496 (construction number 20309), ZM497 (c/n 20310), ZM498 (c/n 20312) and ZM499 (c/n 20313).

Including the new Texans which are on their way, the UKMFTS has a total of 106 aircraft at their disposal:

  • Hawk T2, 28 aircraft at RAF Valley, operated by 4FTS (4(AC) Squadron and 25(F) Squadron)
  • Juno HT1, 29 aircraft at RAF Shawbury, operated by 1FTS (60sq RAF, 660 Squadron AAC and 705NAS FAA)
  • Jupiter HT1, 7 aircraft at RAF Valley, operated by 1FTS (202sq)
  • Texan T1, 14 aircraft at RAF Valley, operated by 4FTS (72sq)
  • Phenom T1, 5 aircraft at RAF Cranwell, operated by 3FTS (45sq)
  • Prefect T1, 23 aircraft at RAF Cranwell and RAF Barkston Heath, operated by 3FTS (57 Squadron RAF at Cranwell, plus 674 Squadron AAC and 703NAS FAA at Barkston Heath)

  Photos: Hans van Herk

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