After the demise of the Fairchild T-46 jet trainer aircraft program of 1985 (cancelled in 1988), the "Joint Primary Aircraft Training System" (JPATS) was established during the early part of the 1990s as a joint-venture between the United States Air Force (USAF) / United States Navy (USN) service to produce a suitable cross-service training aircraft. Proposals were plenty with offerings emerging from Cessna, Brazil-based Embraer, Vought, Lockheed, Beech-Pilatus, Rockwell, and Italian-based SIAI-Marchetti. At the end of the program in 1995, the winner became the Beechcraft T-6A "Texan II" based in the Pilatus PC-9 Mk. 2 model. What followed were over 850 of the type which continues to serve today (2021).
The Cessna submission - known internally as "Model 526" - was based around the in-service "CitationJet" (Model 525) lightweight bizjet solution for the VIP market. The original design was considerably altered for the military training role with the outboard, rear-set engines now buried in the wingroots, the T-style tail unit becoming a traditional single-finned arrangement with low-set horizontal planes, and the side-by-side cockpit seating succeeded by a tandem configuration for student and instructor. In the end, there was approximately 75% commonality of parts between the two aircraft - making for some logistical friendliness and lowered development costs to boot. Shared components included the retractable, wheeled tricycle undercarriage, the straight, low-set monoplane wing mainplane members, and the turbofan engines with their applicable fuel systems.
The airframe was reworked for the rigors of military service and this included installation of ejection seats for both crewmen. All told, the aircraft was a sleek and interesting offering by the company known largely for its deep stable of executive haulers.
Work on the design ultimately yielded a pair of prototypes, the first of which flew for the first time on December 20th, 1993. The second model followed into the air on March 2nd, 1994. However, despite its promising nature, the design did not impress in subsequent competition phases and all entries alongside it were passed over in favor of the Beech-Pilatus design.
As completed, the Model 526 has a running length of 48. 7 feet, a wingspan of 37 feet, and a height of 12. 5 feet. Empty weight was 6,450lb with a gross weight of 8,500lb. Power was from 2 x Williams-Rolls F129 turbofan engines developing 1,500 thrust each. The powerplant was born from the original Williams FJ44 originating in 1985 and going on to power the Swedish Saab 105 military trainer, German Grob G180 SPn corporate jet, and the Swiss Pilatus PC-24 light business jet. The FJ44 subsequently inspired the follow-on FJ33 design by the company.
Performance-wise, the jet trainer could manage a maximum speed of 311 miles-per-hour (Mach 0. 70) and range out to 1,209 miles on internal fuel. Its service ceiling was 35,000 feet.
Cessna Aviation - USA
United States (trialed, cancelled)
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
Dedicated advanced training platform for student pilots having graduated from basic flight training.
Incorporates two or more engines, enhancing survivability and / or performance.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
PILOT / CREW EJECTION SYSTEM
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.
Beyond a pilot, the aircraft takes advantage of additional crew specialized in specific functions aboard the aircraft.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.
40. 7 ft
(12. 40 m)
37. 0 ft
(11. 28 m)
12. 5 ft
(3. 81 m)
monoplane / low-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Cessna Model 526 production variant)
2 x Williams-Rolls F129 (Williams FJ44) non-afterburning turbofan engine developing 1,500 lb of thrust each.
(500 kph | 270 kts)
(435 kph | 235 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
(+65 kph | 35 kts)
(10,668 m | 7 mi)
(1,945 km | 3,602 nm)
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030