Instead of being delivered to Thailand, the aircraft were taken over on October 1940 by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) to keep them out of Japanese hands and redesignated A-27 under the USAAC aircraft designation system. Assigned to Nichols Field in the Philippines and used as a trainer, all A-27s were destroyed within a month during the Japanese invasion of that country during World War II.
Length: 8.84 m
Wingspan: 12.8 m
Height: 3.71 m
Max. takeoff weight: 3053 kg
Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820 Radial, 785 hp (585 Kw)
Maximum speed: 402 km/h
Range: 1,290 km
Service ceiling: 8,530 m
Armament: 2 x nose-mounted 30 Cal. Browning machine guns
1 x rear-mounted 30 Cal. machine gun
Bombs: 4 x 100 lb bombs onunderwing racks
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan is an American single-engined advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), United States Navy, Royal Air Force, and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1970s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force.
The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) and USAAF designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces the Harvard, the name by which it is best known outside the US.
Starting in 1948, the new United States Air Force (USAF) designated it the T-6, with the USN following in 1962. It remains a popular warbird aircraft used for airshow demonstrations and static displays. It has also been used many times to simulate various Japanese aircraft, including the Mitsubishi A6M Zero in movies depicting World War II in the Pacific. A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.
Twenty AT-6 Texans were employed by the 1st and 2nd fighter squadrons of the Syrian Air Force in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, providing ground support for Syrian troops, and launching air strikes against Israeli airfields, ships, and columns, losing one aircraft to antiaircraft fire. They also engaged in air-to-air combat on a number of occasions, with a tail gunner shooting down an Israeli Avia S-199 fighter.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) bought 17 Harvards, and operated nine of them in the final stages of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, against the Egyptian ground forces, with no losses. In the Sinai Campaign, IAF Harvards attacked Egyptian ground forces in Sinai Peninsula with two losses.
The Royal Hellenic Air Force employed three squadrons of British- and American-supplied T-6D and G Texans for close air support, observation, and artillery spotting duties during the Greek Civil War, providing extensive support to the Greek army during the Battle of Gramos. Communist guerillas called these aircraft "O Galatas" ("The Milkman"), because they saw them flying very early in the morning. After the "Milkmen", the guerillas waited for the armed Spitfires and Helldivers.
During the Korean War and, to a lesser extent, the Vietnam War, T-6s were pressed into service as forward air control aircraft. These aircraft were designated T-6 "Mosquitos".
No. 1340 Flight RAF used the Harvard in Kenya against the Mau Mau in the 1950s, where they operated with 20-lb bombs and machine guns against the rebels. Some operations took place at altitudes around 20,000 ft above mean sea level. A Harvard was the longest-serving RAF aeroplane, with an example, taken on strength in 1945, still serving in the 1990s (as a chase plane for helicopter test flights—a role for which the Shorts Tucano's high stall speed was ill-suited).
The T-6G was also used in a light attack or counter insurgency role by France during the Algerian War in special Escadrilles d'Aviation Légère d'Appui (EALA), armed with machine guns, bombs and rockets. At its peak, 38 EALAs were active. The largest unit was the Groupe d'Aviation Légère d'Appui 72, which consisted of up to 21 EALAs.
From 1961 to 1975, Portugal used more than a hundred T-6Gs, also in the counterinsurgency role, during the Portuguese Colonial War. During this war, almost all the Portuguese Air Force bases and air fields in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea had a detachment of T-6Gs.
On 16 June 1955, Argentine Navy SNJ-4s bombed Plaza de Mayo and one of them was shot down by a loyalist Gloster Meteor. Argentine Navy SNJ-4s were later used by the colorado rebels in the 1963 Argentine Navy Revolt, launching attacks on the 8th Tank Regiment columns on 2 and 3 April, knocking out several M4 Sherman tanks, but losing one SNJ to antiaircraft fire.
In 1957–58, the Spanish Air Force used T-6s as counterinsurgency aircraft in the Ifni War, armed with machine guns, iron bombs, and rockets, achieving an excellent reputation due to its reliability, safety record, and resistance to damage.
The Pakistan Air Force used T-6Gs in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 as a night ground-support aircraft, hitting soft transport vehicles of the Indian army. In the early hours of 5 December, during a convoy interdiction mission in the same area, Squadron Leader Israr Quresh's T-6G Harvard was hit by Indian antiaircraft ground fire and a shell fractured the pilot’s right arm. Profusely bleeding, the pilot flew the aircraft back with his left hand and landed safely. The World War II-vintage propellered trainers were pressed into service and performed satisfactorily in the assigned role of convoy escorters at night.
T-6s remained in service, mainly as a result of the United Nations arms embargo against South Africa's apartheid policies, with the South African Air Force as a basic trainer until 1995. They were replaced by Pilatus PC-7 MkII turboprop trainers.
The Harvard 4 has also been recently used in Canada as a testbed aircraft for evaluating cockpit attitude displays. Its aerobatic capability permits the instructor pilot to maneuver the aircraft into unusual attitudes, then turn the craft over to an evaluator pilot in the "blind" rear cockpit to recover, based on one of several digitally generated attitude displays.