U.S. Air Force is promoting a contract to provide 3 training aircraft for Vietnam People’s Air Force (Không quân Nhân dân Việt Nam) together with a basic pilot training program built based on the pilot training model of the U.S. Air Force. According to the US Air Force, the deadline for receiving bidding documents is March 3, 2021; and the latest handover of the three aircraft is around mid-2023. The supply of these 3 training aircraft is part of the strategic program of regional security cooperation and assistance between the US Air Force and Vietnam. In September 2019, speaking at an event in Hawaii, General Charles Q. Brown, commander of the US Air Force in the Pacific at that time, said that the Vietnam People’s Air Force side was considering buying US Beechcraft T-6 Texan II training aircraft.
Recently, the U.S. has trained a number of Vietnam People’s Air Force pilots. On May 31, 2019, Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi held a graduation ceremony for 34 US and International military student officers (IMSO) pilots, among them was Vietnamese Lieutenant Dang Duc Toai. The participation of Vietnam People’s Air Force pilots in such training courses stems from the defense cooperation between the two countries. Vietnamese pilots were trained with the T-6A Texan II aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy in flight training. The planned provision of training aircraft for Vietnam is said to be part of a strategic program of regional security cooperation and assistance between the U.S. Air Force and Vietnam People’s Air Force.
The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engine turboprop aircraft built by the Raytheon Aircraft Company (which became Hawker Beechcraft and later Beechcraft Defense Company, and was bought by Textron Aviation in 2014). It is powered by single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop engine in tractor configuration with an aluminum, 97-inch (8.1 ft; 2.5 m), four-blade, constant-speed, variable pitch, non-reversing, feathering propeller assembly and has retractable tricycle landing gear. The aircraft is fitted with Martin-Baker Mark 16 ejection seats and a canopy fracturing system. The T-6 is a development of the Pilatus PC-9, modified by Beechcraft to enter the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) competition in the 1990s. The aircraft was designated under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system and named for the decades-earlier T-6 Texan.
The T-6 has replaced the U.S. Air Force’s Cessna T-37B Tweet and the United States Navy’s T-34C Turbo Mentor. The T-6A is used by the United States Air Force for basic pilot training and Combat Systems Officer (CSO) training, the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps for primary Naval Aviator training and primary and intermediate Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training, and by the Royal Canadian Air Force (CT-156 Harvard II designation), Greek Air Force, Israeli Air Force (with the “Efroni” nickname), and Iraqi Air Force for basic flight training. The T-6B is the primary trainer for U.S. student naval aviators (SNAs). The T-6C is used for training by the Mexican Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Moroccan Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.