The US Navy has awarded Textron Aviation a firm-fixed-price contract to develop the new T-54A multi-engine training system (METS) aircraft.
The T-54A will provide advanced instrument and asymmetric engine handling training to student naval aviators selected for multi-engine fleet communities.
Announced on January 25, the $113.1 million contract is for 10 aircraft. With the base and contract options, the value could go up to $677.2 million for the procurement of up to 64 aircraft.
While the service did not specify which existing aircraft the T-54A will be based on, Textron Aviation earlier said it would be pitching a modified King Air 260 turboprop aircraft for the program.
Deliveries of the new aircraft that will provide advanced training for accession into P-8, EP-3, KC-130, E-6, E-2, CMV-22 and MV-22 aircraft are scheduled from calendar year 2024 to 2026, the service said.
“The new METS aircraft will give us the ability to train pilots across the services with an advanced platform that better represents fleet aircraft,” said Capt. Holly Shoger, Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office (PMA-273) program manager.
“The T-54A will include the latest avionics and navigational updates, such as virtual reality and augmented reality devices, to ensure pilots are ready to face any challenges that come their way in tomorrow’s battlespace.”
The T-54A aircraft will replace the T-44 Pegasus aircraft and will feature a pressurized aircraft cockpit with side-by-side seating and a jump seat. The cockpit will be equipped with multifunction displays with a digital moving map; redundant ultra-high frequency and very high frequency radios; an integrated global positioning system/inertial navigation system; automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast; flight management system; weather radar, radar altimeter, and a cockpit data recorder. The METS aircraft will also have tricycle landing gear and a reconfigurable cargo bay in the cabin.
Additionally, the aircraft’s technology will capture data that allows for conditioned-based maintenance plus, a capability that enables the Navy to trend aircraft health over time to facilitate improved maintenance planning and efficiency.
This contract award will provide new aircraft to train Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard pilots to fly non-centerline thrust aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey, E-2D Hawkeye, C-130 Hercules and P-8 Poseidon.
The Navy expects to begin retiring T-44Cs six months after METS’ first delivery.