Designed as a replacement of the T-6 Texan (Harvard), the T-28 had big shoes to fill. She would never achieve the legendary status of her predecessor but none the less became the primary aircraft in which a most of the new generation of jet pilots trained. Almost 16,000 T-6's were built. In a production run lasting seven years from 1950 to 1957 1,948 T-28s left the factory floor.
The Trojan, as it became known, had a frameless canopy and a Wright R-1300 engine. Adopted by the United States Air Force (USAF), the United States Navy (USN) and Marine Corps (USMC) the T-28 was phased out by the USAF in 1960 but continued to serve in the USN and USMC until 1984. Of the three forces the USN were the largest T-28 users. Navy Trojans differed mainly from the T-28A in its use of the more-powerful Wright R-1820-86 engine and an arrester gear for carrier-deck landing training.
As a trainer the Trojan excelled. However she earned her fame in the counter-insurgency (COIN) role when in 1962 North American began supplying T-28Ds with 6 under wing hard-points in order for the aircraft to accept a variety of weapons and in this role Trojan's were used operationally in Africa and Southeast Asia.
France's Sud-Aviation converted over 240 ex USAF T-28As into Fennecs (T-28Ds) and used them extensively in the close-support, reconnaissance and patrol roles from 1959 to 1962 in North Africa. Powered by a 1,200 hp Wright R-1820-97 supercharged radial engine (the model used in the B-17 bomber) Fennecs differed from the T28As by having an electrically powered sliding canopy, side-armour and four under wing hardpoints. For fire support missions it carried two double-mount .50-caliber machine gun pods and two Matra Type 122 6 x 68mm rocket pods or various other armaments on the hardpoints.
After the war the French government offered them for sale. Most of them went to Morocco and Argentina.] Argentina later sold some to Uruguay and Honduras. Some of the ones that had remained in Africa eventually found their way to South Africa. Some were sold to locally whilst others were exported to Warbird collectors.
It was in Vietnam that the T-28 was bloodied. A Trojan was the first US fixed wing attack aircraft lost due to enemy action in South Vietnam when one during a close air support mission was shot down by ground fire. Trojans supplied to the South Vietnamese Air Force saw extensive service during the War. The USAF lost 23 T-28s to all causes during the war.
During the 1989 Philippine coup attempt, Trojans were often deployed as dive bombers by rebel forces whilst the CIA operated T-28s in the Belgian Congo uprisings in the early 1960s. Various other Air Forces South including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and the Philippine's used Trojans, the Philippine's Air Force only retiring theirs in 1994.
The T-28's service career was finally ended by the introduction of the T-34 turboprop trainer. Many T-28s were subsequently sold to private civil operators, and due to their reasonable operating costs are often found flying as warbirds today. The T-28 lives on as one of the most popular piston-powered warbirds in the USA, as well as several other countries.
Length: 33 ft 0 in (10.06 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft 1 in (12.22 m)
Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
Wing area: 268 ft≤ (24.9 m≤)
Empty weight: 6,424 lb (2,914 kg)
Max. take-off weight: 8,500 lb (10,500 lb with combat stores) (3,856 kg)
Powerplant: 1 ◊ Wright R-1820-86 Cyclone radial engine, 1,425 hp (1,063 kW)
Maximum speed: 343 mph (552 km/h)
Service ceiling: 39,000 ft (10,820 m)
Rate of climb: 4,000 fpm (20.3 m/s)
Two or six wing-mounted pylons capable of carrying bombs, napalm, rockets. machine gun pods containing .30 in (7.62 mm) (training), .50 in (D-model) or twin pods with .50 in (12.7 mm) and 20 mm (.79 in) cannon (Fennec)