Hellenic Air Force T-2 Buckeye Photo Report

Monday 13th March - Tuesday 14th March 2023

The North American T-2 Buckeye lived its service most famously as the principal jet trainer of the United States Navy (USN), being retired in that country in 2008. However, the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) remains as the last military operator of the type, continuing to use it as its jet familiarisation and advanced combat tactics trainer at Kalamata Air Base in the southern Peloponnese following previous student phases on the T-41D Mescalero (until 2023)/Tecnam P2002JF for initial training and T-6A Texan II. The HAF took on an order of 40 T-2Es in 1976, later augmented by 12 ex-USN T-2Cs (unlike the Venezuelan Air Force's examples, the HAF's T-2s are technically carrier-capable, although never used in practice!) - the T-2E variant is capable of carrying bombs, rockets or gunpods on one pylon on each wing, with an optional two more on each.

Sam Wise spent two days at Kalamata Air Base to compile this photo report.

The T-2s have remained virtually unchanged since delivery with almost no modernisation or upgrades to the cockpits whatsoever - the aircraft even retain the original Second World War-era gunsights. THis leads to the odd situation of student pilots moving from the 21st century glass cockpit of the T-6A onto something truly analogue which is intended to prepare them for glass cockpit fighters such as F-16Cs and even Rafales. The HAF only retain a small number still flying, and while they are kept busy throughout the year Greece has decided it is time to retire the venerable aircraft. The HAF selected the Leonardo M346 Master to replace the T-2 which is due for delivery some time in 2023. The Buckeye's days of military service are sadly numbered, but it is a charismatic type that will be forever remember by those that trained on it.