Beechcraft Defence Systems has flown two T-6C Texan II aircraft from Wichita, Kansas to New Zealand, ahead of their entry into service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The pair arrived at RNZAF Ohakea on 22 August. The aircraft's arrival follows Wellington’s order of 11 T-6C Texan IIs for NZ$154 million ($129 million) in January. The aircraft will be formerly handed over on 31 October after RNZAF personnel undergo maintenance and pilot training in the USA.

The T-6s will meet a requirement New Zealand has for an intermediate trainer with a glass cockpit that takes students from thePacific AerospaceCT-4E Airtrainer to theLockheed MartinP-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft,Boeing 757and upgraded Lockheed C-130H transports, plus the AgustaWestlandAW109, NH Industries NH90and future Kaman SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopters.

The January order also included CAE flight simulators, classroom and computer-based training, as well as other support.