Textron Aviation has been awarded the Multi-Engine Training System (METS) contract by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) through a full and open competition.
The contract award is for up to 64 King Air 260 aircraft, which will be known as the T-54A. The initial Lot I award will procure 10 new Beechcraft King Air 260 commercial aircraft and associated support. Lot II and Lot III, if the options are exercised, would each procure up to 27 aircraft. Aircraft deliveries are planned from 2024 to 2026.
The Beechcraft King Air 260 aircraft acquired under the METS contract will replace the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) fleet of T-44C Pegasus aircraft. The T-44C Pegasus aircraft is a variant of the twin-engine and pressurised Beechcraft King Air 90. The T-44 has been in service since 1977.
“We are honoured the US Navy has again selected the Beechcraft King Air to fulfil its training needs,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, special-missions sales for Textron Aviation. “METS will modernise multi-engine aircraft training at CNATRA, providing an intermediate and advanced training platform for US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard aviators into the P-8, EP-3, KC-130, E-6, E-2, CMV-22, CV-22 and MV-22 aircraft.”
METS specific capabilities include factory options for TACAN (Air to Air), angle of attack (AOA), V/UHF radio, digital audio system, engine trend monitoring, condition-based maintenance plus, observer/jump seat, passenger mission seats, and full-face oxygen masks.
“With its advanced technology, the new METS platform will be more representative of fleet aircraft,” said Capt. Holly Shoger, Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office (PMA-273) programme manager. “The T-54A will include an updated avionics suite, automation qualities, and virtual reality and augmented reality devices to better prepare students for the advanced aircraft they will fly in the fleet.”
The King Air 260 METS aircraft will be delivered in a fully compliant, METS mission ready configuration from Textron Aviation’s King Air production line in Wichita, Kansas.