In the second half of 40, North American began designing a training aircraft under the trademark NA-159. This machine was supposed to replace the aging T-6 Texan, which was in serial production with 1937 of the year. Double all-metal monoplane with a piston star-shaped 7-cylinder engine Wright R-1300 with HP 800 power. first flew 26 September 1949 of the year. Two prototypes quickly passed the test cycle at the Eglin airbase, and after eliminating minor bugs, in 1950, the plane was launched into a series under the designation T-28A Trojan. According to the contract with the Air Force, it was planned to build 266 training machines, but the air forces subsequently acquired 1194 aircraft.
The layout of the TCB T-28A Trojan
Although the aircraft was equipped with a piston engine and a two-bladed propeller, the flashlight and the layout of instruments and controls in a double tandem cockpit had much in common with the F-86 Saber jet fighter. Testing and launching into mass production of jet “Sabra” and piston “Troyan” were conducted by specialists of “North American” in parallel.
F-86 Saber fighters and training T-28A Trojan at the North American factory airfield
From the very beginning, the suspension of weapons and discharged fuel tanks was foreseen on the four external pylons, this was not implemented on the first production aircraft, although there was some sighting equipment in the first cabin.
Following the Air Force, American admirals showed interest in the T-28A. The US Navy command for the initial flight and shooting training, testing takeoff and landing from aircraft carriers required a relatively cheap and easy to operate aircraft. However, the sea pilots considered the T-28A too "sluggish", in addition, after installing equipment designed to be based on aircraft carriers and weapons, the mass of the aircraft should inevitably increase, and the thrust-weight ratio, takeoff and landing characteristics and maximum speed should deteriorate. In this regard, the plane naval modifications of the T-28V installed a 9-cylinder engine Wright R-1820-86 with a capacity of 1425 hp and Hamilton Standard three-blade propeller. In total, the US Navy and the ILC acquired 489 aircraft of the Bravo modification. Deliveries of the T-28V to combat squadrons began in the second half of 1953. These aircraft were equipped with 11 separate training squadrons. Also, two or three “Trojans” were available at air bases, which are the place of constant deployment of fighter and assault deck squadrons.
Externally, the fleet "Trojans" differed from the T-28A in a different color, wider hoods and a different arrangement of exhaust pipes. By order of the Navy, Boeing conducted research on the possibility of using X-NUMX-mm 28HVAR missiles, bombs and outboard containers with 127-5-mm machine guns with T-7,62В.
Subsequently, the Troyan was equipped with the most varied suspension and built-in small-arms guns of the 7,62-20-mm caliber, which made it possible to use the aircraft to practice shooting and bombing skills, as a light attack aircraft and even a fighter. T-28V with a three-blade propeller was used not only the US Navy, a certain number of these machines were operated in the Air Force. There they were mainly used for rifle training and in various test programs.
Double T-28V with a maximum take-off weight of 3,856 kg had a practical range of 1750 km. The maximum speed in horizontal flight was 552 km / h. The speed of climb is 20,3 m / s. The ceiling is 10800 m. According to test pilot reviews, the Troyan’s horizontal maneuverability roughly matched the Chance Vought F4U Corsair fighter.
19 September 1955 for the first time T-28C took to the air. This machine differed from the earlier modifications by a more durable airframe and chassis, smaller wheels, a hook in the rear fuselage, a brake flap and a trimmed three-blade propeller. Due to the increased take-off weight and the decrease in the efficiency of the shortened propeller, the thrust-to-weight ratio, the maximum flight speed and the ceiling fell slightly.
However, taking off and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier was still much easier than that of fighter jets. In total, the 266 T-28С came to the naval squadrons of the Navy and the ILC, while the 72 of the aircraft was converted from the T-28А.
The operation of the Trojans on the decks of American aircraft carriers continued until 1980. Until the first half of 1984, these machines continued to train cadets at coastal air bases. IN aviation Marine corps and naval squadrons T-28V / S in the first half of the 80s were replaced by Beechcraft T-34C Turbo-Mentor turboprop aircraft.
In total, in the North American enterprises in the period from 1949 to 1957, the 1948 training T-28 of all modifications was built for the year. Tens of thousands of pilots were trained on these machines. Trojans enjoyed a well-deserved popularity for their ease of operation and ease of operation. Robust and reliable design provided the aircraft enviable longevity. At the same time, the Troyan had a relatively low cost, a durable and torquey air-cooled engine, a low specific load on the wing and the ability to be based on poorly prepared field airfields - that is, all the qualities necessary for a light attack aircraft designed to fight the rebels.
The first in combat conditions during the colonial war in Algeria, the T-28 was used by the French. The main strike aircraft of the French Air Force in North Africa at the end of the 50's were the T-6 Texan, adapted for hanging machine guns, NAR and bombs. However, in hot climates, “Texans” with an engine rated at 600 hp. could not bear the combat load of a mass of more than 200 kg. In addition, maintaining the heavily worn T-6 in flight condition required considerable expense and effort. In 1959, the French government applied for the purchase of the T-28B. However, the main customer of the improved Troyans at that time was the American fleet, which used them to train deck aviation pilots. In addition, the Americans were not eager to sell the obstinate allies a new aircraft. As a result, the French had to be content with second-hand T-28A, located at the Davis-Montana storage base in Arizona. Although airplanes taken from conservation were worth more than two times cheaper than new ones, they had to be repaired and refitted. To bring the 148 T-28A into flight, an agreement was signed with the American company Pacific Airmotive, which previously specialized in adapting Troyans for civilian needs. Since the native engine power 800 hp It seemed to the customer too weak, it was replaced with a Wright R-1820-97 horsepower 1300. In the past, such engines were used on B-17 bombers. Together with the new engine, the aircraft received a three-bladed propeller. After the first four aircraft that had undergone restoration and modernization were taken over by Armee de l'Air, the remaining 144 vehicles were transported by sea to Saint-Haiser at the Sud Aviation factory. In France, these machines additionally equipped with enhanced cabin ventilation, dust filters, an additional fuel tank was installed, the sides were covered with aluminum armor, French-made instruments and a radio station appeared in the cab.
T-28S Fennec attack aircraft weapons set
On the four suspension nodes under the wing could be placed containers with 12,7-mm machine guns (100 ammunition ammunition for the barrel), bombs weighing up to 120 kg, incendiary tanks and NAR blocks. On several aircraft instead of machine guns mounted 20-mm guns.
Recycled T-28S Fennec
In the French army aviation aircraft received the designation T-28S Fennec (Fenechuk is a miniature fox living in North Africa). In the USA, this modification is known as T-28F.
As planned from the very beginning, the main body of the T-28S Fennec went to Algeria. Since 1960, more than 100 Fenech aircraft have been operated in four French squadrons. Although the firepower and effectiveness of attack aircraft were at their best, they did not succeed in turning the tide of combat operations. Despite good combat survivability and reliability, in Algeria for various reasons until the end of 1962, 33 T-28S was lost. Approximately half of this number was shot down by fire from the ground.
T-28S Fennec over Algeria
After the withdrawal of the French contingent from Algeria, most of the surviving T-28S were sold abroad. Taking into account the fact that the French themselves bought the “Trojans” from the storage base in the USA, some aircraft changed several owners after that and managed to participate in a number of conflicts. The first buyer in 1964 was the Air Force of Morocco, who bought 25 aircraft. Most piston attack aircraft were used to patrol the border with Algeria, where they repeatedly fired on caravans of nomads who did not recognize state borders. In the second half of the 60, nine Moroccan T-28S were sold to Haiti. In 1979, the regime of the Nicaraguan dictator Somoza bought four attack aircraft in Morocco, which were later used in the battles with the Sandinista. In 1967, Argentina acquired the 62 T-28S, which were decommissioned in France. Subsequently, some of these aircraft were resold to Uruguay and Honduras.
In a number of sources it is said that some more ground attack aircraft Honduras bought in Morocco. In the middle of the 80-x, during the civil war in Nicaragua, the T-28 attack aircraft of the Honduran air force, supporting the actions of the contras, attacked Nicaraguan territory.
As the national liberation movement grew in the “third world” countries and the struggle of the former colonies for independence intensified, light anti-insurgency storm troopers became more and more in demand in the world. It soon became clear that costly jet fighters, which amazed the imagination with maximum flight speed, are very poorly suited to combat point targets in the jungle, and the cost of one hour of flight of a monster like McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is dozens or even hundreds of times exceeds the price of the bamboo bridge destroyed by it, the shed where the cartridges for the rifle were kept weapons or a truck with supplies. In addition, it was very difficult to visually detect a small object of attack on the ground, without prior targeting to the pilot of a high-speed vehicle, and therefore the bombing was often simply carried out in a specific area. In the first post-war decade, when there were still a lot of piston Mustangs, Corsairs and Inveyders in the ranks, they were actively used in various kinds of “low intensity” conflicts. However, as the inevitable development of the resource and losses, piston fighters and bombers in the ranks, every year, less and less. However, in the United States Air Force and Navy after the end of the Second World Quarter of the Century, it was armed with a unique for the post-war time piston attack aircraft Douglas A-1 Skyraider. But with the many merits of Skyraders, all American allies lacked. And the aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of more than 11 tons and an 2700 hp engine. for many Asian and African countries it turned out to be too expensive to operate and voracious. It was then that the Americans remembered about the training "Troyan", especially since a significant amount of T-28A of the early series accumulated on the basis of storage in Davis-Montand. Initially, allies in the “third world countries” struggling with communist influence were given unfinished training machines. But the combat capabilities of the T-28A were relatively low. Engine power 800 HP and only four weapon points did not allow to realize all the existing potential, and the lack of armor led to losses from small arms fire. In connection with this, the United States Air Force issued an order to North American 1961 for retrofitting T-28A to T-28D. During the modernization, the aircraft received a new Wright R-1820-56S engine with an 1300 horsepower. with a three-blade screw. In order to install two additional pylons and bring the mass of the combat load to 908 kg, the wing was strengthened. In this case, 12,7-mm winged machine guns made non-removable, placing ammunition in the wing.
T-28D Nomad Mark I
The cabin was covered on the sides with light armor, and filling the gas tanks with nitrogen with the production of fuel made it possible to prevent the explosion of gasoline vapors if they hit incendiary bullets. This modification of "Troyan" received the designation T-28D Nomad Mark I (Nomad - Russian Nomad). After modernization, the maximum take-off weight increased to 3977 kg, and the maximum speed was 463 km / h. Also, the practical flight range was reduced to 1620 km, and the ceiling was reduced to 6000 m.
Light attack aircraft T-28D Nomad Mark II Lao Air Force, 1965 year
It soon became clear that the modernization of the Navy T-28V is cheaper, since on this model, the wing can not be strengthened and the 1425 hp motor was installed on the plane from the very beginning. However, this modification, known as the T-28D Nomad Mark II, had only six suspension assemblies, two of which were typically used for containers with 12,7-mm machine guns.
In the first half of 1962, the first T-28D arrived in Southeast Asia. The planes were handed over to the air forces of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the Republic of Vietnam. In total, the Laotian Air Force received 55, Cambodia - 47, Thailand - 88, and South Vietnam - 75 two-seater light attack aircraft. As far as the Laotian Royal Air Force planes were converted into RT-28 reconnaissance aircraft to identify transport routes and partisan camps.
T-28D Nomad Mark I with 227-kg bombs at a field airfield
Light piston stormtroopers from the very beginning actively involved in combat work. At first, the aircraft patrolled, carried out reconnaissance and adjustment of artillery fire, while carrying a minimum combat load. Quite often they marked NAR targets equipped with white phosphorus, after which supersonic fighter-bombers struck them. Double T-28D with a cockpit that gives an excellent overview, was very well suited for this, since the presence of the second crew member allowed the pilot to unload, and the task of searching for ground targets and their visual identification were assigned to the observer pilot. As they gained experience, the crews of “Nomads” were increasingly involved in the tasks of direct air support of ground forces, in search and rescue and special operations and isolation of the battlefield. South Vietnamese and Lao stormtroopers actively worked along the “Ho Chi Minh Trail”, through which troops, supplies and weapons went in continuous flow through the territory of Laos, bypassing the demilitarized zone from North Vietnam to the South.
T-28D Air Force South Vietnam
Taking into account the fact that attack aircraft operating at low altitude even fired from flint rifles, and large-caliber machine guns were already at the disposal of the partisans, the aircraft often returned with combat damage. The first T-28D was hit by anti-aircraft fire over South Vietnam 28 August 1962. The American pilot and the South Vietnamese observer were killed.
In addition to anti-aircraft fire planes suffered losses at the airfields from the attacks of the partisans. There were other incidents, a lot of attack aircraft crashed due to the lack of proper maintenance and piloting errors. 24 January 1965 of the year while preparing for the T-28D Royal Air Force's Lao Air Force combat mission an explosion of bombs occurred at Vientiane Airport. As a result, one attack aircraft was completely destroyed, and several others were seriously damaged. Also injured are the C-47 and C-119 planes of Air America, which is known for its connections with the United States CIA, parked nearby. The exact T-28D losses suffered by the Laos and Cambodia air forces in the air are unknown, but the 23 attack aircraft were lost over South Vietnam. The main part of the aircraft shot down by 12,7-mm DShK machine guns.
In general, the T-28D showed good survivability. The engine of air cooling, covering the pilot from bullets and splinters in front, kept working in case of failure of several cylinders. Pilot seats had armored backs and seats, and onboard additional armor protected the crew from rifle bullets fired from the 300 distance. Often, good maneuverability and high engine acceleration helped the large-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns to escape. However, as in the case of other types of light attack aircraft, the main part of the "Nomads" was hit by anti-aircraft fire during re-entry missions.
The armament set used on the T-28D was very diverse and could include 7,62-12,7-mm machine guns, 70-127-mm missiles, bombs weighing up to 227 kg, one-time bomb cassettes, napalm tanks, containers with anti-personnel mines . In terms of the maximum combat load, the T-28D exceeded the Soviet piston attack aircraft Il-2 and Il-10 by about 30%. Those who saw the attack aircraft in the case, noted that he was fairly quiet, and could almost silently "sneak up" to the target at low engine speeds and suddenly attack. At the same time, the aircraft had a highly injectivity engine, which made it possible to carry out a retreat maneuver vigorously after the attack. In fact, the attack aircraft, converted from a training aircraft, can be considered as a light version of the Skyrader. After the T-28D demonstrated its effectiveness in Southeast Asia, orders for it increased. Prior to 1969, the assault version of the T-28D converted 321 T-28 early modifications.
In connection with the successful experience of using T-28D in combat operations, North American in 1963 attempted to create a lightweight turboprop attack aircraft YAT-28E on the basis of a piston aircraft.
Experienced turboprop attack aircraft YAT-28E
An experienced turboprop attack aircraft YAT-28E was equipped with a Lycoming ET-55L-9 engine with a power 2445 hp. with four-bladed propeller. In total, three T-28A, taken from conservation, were converted into this variant. The use of gliders planes that were in storage, made it possible to seriously reduce costs. The speed of attack aircraft with a turboprop engine exceeded 600 km / h. However, the main focus was on increasing the combat load. Together with a pair of large-caliber machine guns, on 12 underwing nodes of the suspension could be placed up to 2730 kg of bombs, NAR units and incendiary tanks. In general, the plane was not bad, but in the end the military preferred light attack aircraft of special construction with the best forward-down view, and the project was closed in 1965 year.
But on this story attack aircraft based on the "Troyan" is not over. At the start of the 70, Fairchild Hiller received an order to convert the 72 T-28A to a percussion version. The planes were intended for the allies of the United States to compensate for the losses incurred during the fighting in Southeast Asia. When creating the attack aircraft, which received the designation AT-28D, used combat experience acquired in Vietnam. Although the combat load and weapons remained the same, the airframe and the cockpit armor were significantly increased. Additional screens were covered fuel and oil tanks. On the plane installed ejection seat, allowing you to leave the padded car at low altitude. To compensate for the increased take-off weight, the aircraft was equipped with a Wright R-1820-80 engine with an 1535 horsepower.
However, in Southeast Asia, AT-28D almost never happened to fight. By the time the main batch of attack aircraft was ready, the war was already over. In this regard, the aircraft in the framework of Allied assistance transferred to the Philippines.
AT-28D Philippines Air Force
All piston attack aircraft were part of the 15-th assault wing, all in the Philippine Air Force on the AT-28D flew two squadrons. The Sangley Point airbase became the official home base, but as a rule, most of the aircraft were scattered around field airfields, in the 70-80-ies, attack aircraft were actively used against leftist and Islamic rebels, as well as fighting piracy. On their account are several sunk pirate schooners.
So the artist depicted the moment of attack of the pirate schooner
Among the Filipino pilots and technicians, these simple and reliable machines were very popular. For the unique sound of a working piston engine they were called “TORA-TORA”.
AT-28D in the museum exhibition at Clark Air Base
However, in addition to anti-terrorism activities and the fight against piracy, the Philippine AT-28D participated in several attempts at military coups. The most famous was the coup, which began on December 1 1989. At the same time, the attackers of the rebels inflicted an airstrike on the presidential palace of the Malakanyang Palace in Manila. Thanks to American support, the insurgency was crushed, and the US Army "Phantoms" closed the sky for the putschists. After the failed rebellion, most of the flight and technical personnel who served at the Sangli Point airbase were dismissed, and the planes were laid up. Having lost their care, piston attack aircraft quickly decayed, and the decision officially made in 1994 on the cancellation of all Philippine AT-28D formally put an end to their life journey.
In the biography of the aircraft T-28 Trojan and the family of attack aircraft, created on its base, there are still a lot of "dark spots". It is known that these machines participated in the operations of the American special services in the Belgian Congo and in Southeast Asia.
Another interesting fact in the history of Troyan is that he became the first fighter in the Air Force of North Vietnam. After the Laotian Royal Air Force pilot 1963 seized the T-28D in the DRV in September, he was mastered by the North Vietnamese pilots. Of course, the American piston attack aircraft could not intercept American jets, but at night, the air borders of the FER often violated transport planes adapted for reconnaissance and special missions. February 16 1964, guided by ground radar commands, the North Vietnamese pilot, in the light of the moon, was able to detect and shoot the American military transport aircraft C-123 Provider from large-caliber machine guns.
Six Bolivian T-28Ds were operated until the 1987 year. Despite the venerable age, piston attack aircraft did not stand idle at the airfields. In addition to fighting the communist rebels, the aircraft patrolled the borders. Toward the close of their careers, the Nomads searched for camps and laboratories for drug dealers, and also defused coca plantations with defoliants. At the same time, attack aircraft operated in pairs, one carrying tanks with chemicals, and the other, armed with machine guns and the NAR, covered it. On several occasions, Bolivian T-28D were used to intercept small-scale smuggling airplanes carrying cocaine.
Training T-28А / В / С and attack aircraft T-28D and АТ-28D besides the USA were in service in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Vietnam, Haiti, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Zaire, Cambodia, Laos, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, the Philippines, France, South Korea and Japan. From the list presented, it can be seen that most of the countries-operators, armed with TCB and specially modified attack aircraft, had problems with all kinds of rebels, or unresolved territorial disputes at their borders. And there is no doubt that these machines were often used in operations, which, for various reasons, officials prefer not to cover.
Currently, the military service of Troyanov is completed everywhere. More than fifty aircraft installed on the "eternal parking" in the vicinity of air bases and museum exhibitions. About two dozen restored T-28 are in flight condition, which regularly participate in demonstration flights during various aviation holidays and festivals, where they invariably attract the attention of the public by spectacular pilotage.