Textron Aviation has rechristened its Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft as the “Wolverine”, while the company’s Cessna Grand Caravan EX special mission aircraft has made it’s Paris debut.
Russ Bartlett, president of Beechcraft Defense Company, says that the airframer wanted to differentiate the armed AT-6 from the T-6 Texan trainer.
“We wanted a name that was appropriate, relevant, and cool,” says Bartlett. “The wolverine is a territorial, defensive type of animal.”
Company management elicited suggestions from employs for a possible name change and received 100s of possible names, says Bartlett.
The aircraft is part of a major Textron presence at this year’s show. The company is also displaying three intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft: a Beechcraft King Air operated by French Customs officials, a G58 Baron, as well as the Grand Caravan EX.
The company says that the Grand Caravan EX, a demonstration version of which is at the show, can serve in a number of missions.
“With a high percentage of our Caravan sales going into special mission roles around the world, this platform has proven to be a truly versatile multi-tasker,” says Dan Keady, vice president, special missions.
“Having a fully equipped special missions Grand Caravan EX demonstrator in the market allows our customers to experience first-hand the extensive range of capabilities available on this platform.”
Keady says customers include a broad array of special operations customers, from specialised government intelligence services to paramilitary organisations and private operators.
The aircraft can carry a payload of nearly 1,600kg. Applications include special missions, aerial survey, air ambulance, amphibious operations, surveillance, and transport. Hard points can be built into the aircraft’s wing, which allows the carriage of weapons.
Separately, Textron also disclosed that it has delivered four T-6D trainers to the US Army. The aircraft will be stationed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, where they will replace the Beechcraft T-34 aircraft now used.
Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker all fall under the Textron Aviation umbrella.