The Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft made its first production flight on August 20th, 2013, from the company’s field at Wichita, Kansas, USA.
The AT-6 is Beechcrafts bid to offer the US and other nations an aircraft for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support or armed reconnaissance, although the Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucano is internationally considered the better option.
Even the US armed forces preselected the Brazilian aircraft for anything from 20 up to 200 aircraft, causing loud protests from the Beechcraft company eventually resulting in a temporarily stop on the purchase plans until a judge waved the Beechcraft protests away.
The Beechcraft aircraft in the mean time has logged 1,600 test flight hours in pre-production versions.
The AT-6 is outfitted with a 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.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger with technical information from Beechcraft