Field Aerospace completed the first flight of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) T-1A aircraft with the modernized flight deck on Friday, March 22. The first fully modified Combat System Officer (CSO) aircraft flew two successful consecutive check flights from Field Aerospace’s Oklahoma City facility.
Last spring, the USAF awarded Field Aerospace a contract to modernize the avionics on the entire T-1A trainer fleet of 178 aircraft plus 30 training devices. The fleet comprises CSO and Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) aircraft.
Working with subcontractors Nextant Aerospace, Collins Aerospace, HEBCO and FlightSafety International, Field Aerospace is the prime for this flight deck modification program. Field Aerospace’s modernization updates the avionics suite and adds Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, eliminating avionics obsolescence issues for the aging aircraft.
“These first two flights were a success and a very important step toward providing future USAF aircrew with access to modern avionics for aviation training and simulation,” said Brian Love, Field Aerospace’s Chief Commercial Officer. “This milestone would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our Oklahoma team and our partners.”
The modernization includes updating the fleet to the Collins Aerospace Pro Line 21 system and enables the T-1A fleet to meet the FAA’s ADS-B Out mandate to support the trainer’s standing requirement to access the National Airspace System.
The T-1A aircraft are medium-range, twin-engine jets used for advanced-phase training of airlift and tanker pilots. Most of the USAF T-1A fleet supports SUPT, with the balance used for CSO training. They are stationed across five U.S. operating bases.