The Vietnamese online news site, VNExpress, reported that the U.S. has agreed to sell T-6 trainer aircraft to Vietnam to help improve pilot training. The U.S. Pacific Air Forces Commander Kenneth Wilsbach said at a teleconference hosted by the U.S. Department of State Asia Pacific Media Hub on June 4. He did not mention how many aircraft would be delivered to Vietnam. Wilsbach said that later this summer the Vietnamese Air Force chief is planning to attend the Pacific Air Chiefs Conference in Hawaii, the U.S., to which 22 nations would be sending their air chiefs for talks.
U.S. Air Force is promoting a contract to provide 3 training aircraft for Vietnam People’s Air Force 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.
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 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. 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.