WICHITA, Kan., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Beechcraft Corp. reports it has conducted the inaugural flight of its first production AT-6 light attack aircraft.
"This achievement highlights the tremendous effort of the entire Beechcraft team involved in the design, development and production of the AT-6," said Bill Boisture, Beechcraft chief executive officer. "We have seen a growing interest in the AT-6 from the defense establishment around the world and we are eager to provide proven reliability and a cost-effective solution to meet the light attack mission needs of our customers."
The AT-6 is a multirole, multimission aircraft system with state-of-the-art equipment such as the Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, CMC Esterline's mission modified Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin's A-10C-based mission system and L-3 WESCAM's MX-15Di sensor suite.
The aircraft is derived from the company's AT-6 trainer.
Beechcraft had offered the AT-6 to the U.S. Air Force for a program to equip Afghanistan with light attack aircraft. Embraer of Brazil, in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corp., won the contest, at least in part because Embraer's Super Tucano light attack aircraft was already in production and in service in a number of countries.
"This milestone event is thanks to the great teamwork of Beechcraft and our key supplier partners on this program," said Russ Bartlett, president, Beechcraft Defense Co.
"The AT-6 capabilities are robust. This light attack aircraft is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and avionics that will provide partnering nations with a proven air platform and weapons systems that are already in use by air forces around the world."