Text & Pictures: Chris Tonthat (an i2i Production) ©sbap 2021
 
Naval Air Station Kingsville or NAS Kingsville (NASK) (IATA: NQI, ICAO: KNQI, FAA LID: NQI) is a United States Navy Naval Air Station located approximately 3 miles east of Kingsville, Texas in Kleberg County. NAS Kingsville is under the jurisdiction of Navy Region Southeast and is the headquarters of Training Air Wing Two. The station also operates a nearby satellite airfield, NALF Orange Grove.
Founded in 1942 as Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Kingsville, it served nearby Naval Air Station Corpus Christi as an auxiliary field, aiding in training many of the U.S Navy's pilots for World War II.
In 1968, the airfield was designated as Naval Air Station Kingsville, and has hosted flight training operations throughout its existence. Additionally, NAS Kingsville organizes and hosts the annual Wings Over South Texas Airshow.
 
A T-45 painted in a pre-World War II tactical aircraft paint scheme flying over NAS Kingsville in October 2010.
The plane is one of nine training command aircraft being painted in celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation.
(U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Pincelli© * Via web)
 

Current operations
Naval Air Station Kingsville is one of the U.S. Navy's premier locations for jet aviation training. The naval air station's primary mission is to train Student Naval Aviators for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps and tactical jet pilots for other select NATO and Allied countries. To accomplish its mission, NAS Kingsville is home to Training Air Wing Two and several tenant commands, military as well as civilian, with a total complement of approximately 300 officers, 200 enlisted, 350 civilian personnel, and 625 contract maintenance personnel.

The wing was the first in the Navy to operate the Boeing T-45 Goshawk aircraft, providing a single carrier-capable aircraft to replace the North American Rockwell T-2 Buckeye and the McDonnell Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk II in the Navy's strike pilot training pipeline. Originally equipped with the T-45A model of the Goshawk, the wing began accepting new production T-45C model aircraft in 2005, which replaces the earlier T-45A aircraft's analog cockpit with a digital or "glass" cockpit similar to what students will find when they transition to operational fleet combat aircraft. All T-45A aircraft at NAS Kingsville have been retrofitted and upgraded to the T-45C configuration under the T-45 Required Avionics Modernization Program (T-45 RAMP), with a select number of RAMP modified aircraft transferred to Training Air Wing SIX at NAS Pensacola, Florida in support of Student Naval Flight Officer training under the Undergraduate Military Flight Officer (UMFO) program.

Current Units:

Training Air Wing Two:
- Training Squadron 21 (VT-21) "Fighting Redhawks"
- Training Squadron 22 (VT-22) "Golden Eagles"

Naval Branch Health Clinic Kingsville
Contract Employers included L-3 Vertex, Fidelity Technologies, and Rolls Royce
CNATRA Detachment
370th Transportation Company (PLS) Detachment 1, U.S. Army Reserve
 
Northern goshawk
The northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is a species of medium-large raptor in the family Accipitridae, a family which also includes other extant diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. As a species in the genus Accipiter, the goshawk is often considered as "true hawk".

This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Falco gentilis.
It is a widespread species that inhabits many of the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere. The northern goshawk is the only species in the genus Accipiter found in both Eurasia and North America. In North America, migratory goshawks are often seen migrating south along mountain ridge tops at nearly any time of the fall depending on latitude.

Known as the phantom of the forest, goshawks can fly through the trees at up to 40km per hour as they hunt birds and small mammals.
This powerful bird of prey was persecuted to extinction in the UK in the late 19th century, but escaped and deliberately released falconry birds launched a population recovery in the late 1960s.
(DR© * Via web)
 
T-45 "Goshawk"
 
The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) T-45 Goshawk is a highly modified version of the British BAE Systems Hawk land-based training jet aircraft. Manufactured by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and British Aerospace (now BAE Systems), the T-45 is used by the United States Navy as an aircraft carrier-capable trainer.

The T-45 Goshawk has its origins in the mid-1970s, during which time the U.S. Navy formally commenced its search for a new jet trainer aircraft to serve as a single replacement for both its T-2 Buckeye and A-4 Skyhawk trainers.
During 1978, the VTXTS advanced trainer program to meet this need was formally launched by the U.S. Navy. An Anglo-American team, comprising British aviation manufacturer British Aerospace (BAE) and American aircraft company McDonnell Douglas (MDC), decided to submit their proposal for a navalised version of BAe Hawk trainer. Other manufacturers also submitted bids, such as a rival team of French aircraft company Dassault Aviation, German manufacturer Dornier and American aerospace company Lockheed, who offered their Alpha Jet to fulfil the requirement.

The VTX-TS competition was not simply for the procurement of an aircraft in isolation; it comprised five core areas: the aircraft itself, capable flight simulators, matured academic training aids, integrated logistic support, and program management. For their proposal, MDC was the prime contractor and systems integrator, BAe functioned as the principal subcontractor and partner for the aircraft element, Rolls-Royce provided the Adour engine to power the aircraft, and Sperry is the principal subcontractor for the simulator system. During November 1981, the U.S. Navy announced that it had selected the Hawk as the winner of the VTX-TS competition. Reportedly, approximately 60 per cent of the work on the T-45 program was undertaken overseas in Britain. During September 1982, a Full Scale Engineering Development contract was awarded to the MDC team to fully develop and produce the proposed aircraft, which had been designated T-45 Goshawk. On 16 April 1988, the first T-45A Goshawk conducted its maiden flight.

The T-45 has been used for intermediate and advanced portions of the Navy/Marine Corps Student Naval Aviator strike pilot training program with Training Air Wing One at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, and Training Air Wing Two at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

 
 Training mission above the clouds & launched from USS John C. Stennis in 2010
(U.S. Navy© * Via web)
Field carrier landing practice (FCLP) at NAS Kingsville
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-268 student pilot preparing to launch for FCLP
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
At the point of contact slowed down by the extended speed brakes but with the engine still running on full power to relaunch
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Keeping an eye on the ball to guide the landing
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Moments before touching down with landing gear in full extension
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-243 was a little bit off and had to go around for another try
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-200 coming in for a landing observed by two other Goshawks
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
 
The T-45 replaced the T-2C Buckeye intermediate jet trainer and the TA-4J Skyhawk II advanced jet trainer. In 2008, the T-45C also began operation in the advanced portion of Navy/Marine Corps Student Naval Flight Officer training track for strike aircraft with Training Air Wing Six at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. A small number of the aircraft is also operated by the Naval Air Systems Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

The original T-45A, which became operational in 1991, contained an analog cockpit design, while the newer T-45C, which was first delivered in December 1997, features a new digital "glass cockpit" design. All T-45A aircraft currently in operational use are upgraded to T-45C standard. The T-45 is to remain in service until 2035 or later.

In 2017, the USN grounded the T-45 fleet for a three-day "safety pause" after more than 100 instructor pilots refused to fly the aircraft. The pilots cited concerns about incidents of hypoxia that they believed to have resulted from faulty on-board oxygen-generation systems.
Over the past five years physiological episodes linked to problems with the T-45's oxygen system have nearly quadrupled, according to testimony from senior naval aviators in April 2017.

The grounding order was first extended, but then lifted to allow flights up to a ceiling of 10,000 feet where the on-board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) would not be needed, and to allow instructors to conduct flights above 10,000 feet. The grounding order was fully lifted, along with all restrictions on flight ceiling and student pilots, in August 2017. The T-45 fleet was thereafter upgraded with new sensors to monitor the on-board oxygen systems, as well as a new water separation system, in hopes of reducing hypoxia events and determining the root cause of the problems. Though the underlying causes have yet to be definitively determined, by the first quarter of 2018, hypoxia events had returned to nominal levels after peaking in 2016 and 2017. Work continues on ensuring further physiological events are kept to a minimum - backup oxygen systems are being developed and was planned to be installed by the second half of 2019. In recent years, similar issues have also affected the Navy's F/A-18s and the Air Force's T-6s, F-22s, and F-35s, some within the same or similar time frames, and the Department of Defense has established a joint command to investigate the problems.
  
A maintenance crew with a shirt to match the T-45s along the flight line
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
In the cockpit of the student pilot
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
A look through the maintenance hangar
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-264 at the end of the line
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-289 with inboard leading edge slats removed
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
VT-21 "Red Hawks" show bird in maintenance
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
The "Navy" side of VT-21 show bird
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
VT-22 "Golden Eagle" show bird B-222
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-222 showing off the "Marines" side of the Goshawk
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
A visitor from VT-7 "Eagles" at NAS Kingsville
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Bright yellow flap partially blocked by a bright red speed brake of B-200 Centennial of Naval Aviation show bird
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
 

T-45 "Goshawk" versions:

* VTX-TS : Initial US Navy requirement designation

* T-45A: Two-seat basic and advanced jet trainer for the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

* T-45B: Proposed land-based version which would have been basically a conventional Hawk furnished with a US Navy-spec cockpit and no carrier capability. The US Navy had wanted to procure the T-45B so that trainee pilots could benefit from an earlier training capability, but abandoned the idea during 1984 in favour of less-costly updates to the TA-4J and T-2C.

* T-45C: Improved T-45A, outfitted with a glass cockpit, inertial navigation, and other improvements.

* T-45D: Tentative designation for an envisioned upgrade of the T-45, potentially incorporating various manufacturing improvements and additional equipment, such as helmet-mounted displays.

* T-45(AN): Version offered to the French Navy in 1991. Special cockpit version plus additional advanced avionics. Not built.

T-45 "Goshawk" squadrons:

VT-7 "Eagles"

VT-9 "Tigers"

VT-21 "Red Hawks"

VT-22 "Golden Eagles"

VT-86 "Sabrehawks"

VX-23 "Salty Dogs" (Air test and evaluation squadron)

TW-1 Air Reserve "Salty Dogs"




 

 

Productions: Total: 234 + one fatigue test airframe and one drop testing airframe

Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
T-45A pre-prod 2 DAC, Long Beach, CA Feb 1986-Nov 1988
T-45A 2 DAC, Palmdale, CA Jan 1998-Nov 1990
T-45A 72 St Louis, MO 1990-1997
T-45C 158 St Louis, MO 1997-2007
 
 

It was already a hot summer day on April 2nd at NAS Kingsville with the temperature reaching 34°C. But that did not deter the young VT-21 and VT-22 pilots from donning their flight suits and take their posts to welcome the crowd and host the 2022 airshow event.

At about noon, four T-45s from the VT-21 and VT-22 were launched to signal the start of the airshow. In a loose diamond formation, they flew by and transformed into the echelon formation to execute a carrier break before landing. Wishing the local T-45s could have flown around a bit more for better photo ops!

As the afternoon heated up, both the F-35A and F-35C demonstration teams took to the sky to show off their stealth qualities. Along with the respective heritage flights, both teams put on some nice flying for the crowd. Always cool to see the fast actions to envelope the aircraft with vapors.

Besides the USAF and USN heritage flights showcasing a P-51 Mustang and an F4F Wildcat, three other warbirds, a B-25 Mitchell, an AT-7 Navigator, and an SB2C Helldiver also showed off their worth during their time in the sky.

By the late afternoon, the new C-130J "Fat Albert" launched to warm up for the final act of the day, the Blue Angels. Fat Albert showed off the performance capabilities of the C-130 that is not normally seen. Fat Albert is fun to watch and frankly it should do more!

The Blue Angels completed their performance to close out the airshow. On this day, the team came prepared with two spare aircraft because two weeks earlier, two aircraft were out of action at showtime in New Orleans. So the team was well equipped but unfortunately their timing was a little bit off with some of the flying routines. Perhaps it was still early in the season and the team was still getting used to the feel of fancy and precision flying with their Super Hornets. But with each performance, the team should bond together as one unit and by the peak of this season, they should be honed in to give the airshow crowds an experience that would be hard to beat.

A few photos from the NAS Kingsville airshow are presented below.

 
Diamond formation flyby with VT-21 and VT-22 T-45Cs
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Breaking right from the echelon formation for the landing pattern
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-283 rolling down the runway after the landing
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-232 exiting the runway
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Face to face with the bird of prey
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-238 taxiing back to the ramp area
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
B-241 waiting for traffic to clear
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Mitchell starting up
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
"Devil Dog" with both engines running
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
"Devil Dog" is an original USAF B-25J Mitchell, S/N 44-86758 with a livery representing USMC PBJ-1J
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
TP-51D representing "Bum Steer" credited with three aerial victories
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Mustang and Panther
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
USAF heritage flight
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Feeling the need to climb
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Panther flying inverted
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Doing a high-speed pass
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Going fast
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Going faster
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Going really fast
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
But not fast enough to evade this capture!
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Blurring out the cloud with the exhaust
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Giving a peek of the weapon bays
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Leaving a trail for the next performer to follow
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
AT-7 looking to outperform the F-35A Panther
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
The Navigator displaying old school stealth mode
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
A distinct look of the F-35C with the double-wheel nose landing gear for aircraft carrier operations
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
F-35C ground crew impressed by the AT-7C stealthy display
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-425 with a mixed-pattern look
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Ground crew ducking the exhaust of NJ-425 leaving the ramp area
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Taxiing in second gear...
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
F-35C has a retractable refueling probe within the long panel below the canopy
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Arresting hook still exposed while taxiing
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-425 taxiing to runway 31R
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Raven put on hold by the tower
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-446 taking off from runway 13L
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
F4F getting ready to launch for heritage flight
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Raven and Wildcat
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Ravens and Wildcat, and maybe a hawk in the mix
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Completing the US Navy heritage display
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-446 doing a low pass
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-425 doing a banana pass
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Creating vapor to impress the crowd
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-425 flying the last pass before landing
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-446 ready for a solo display
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Performing slow rolls going forward
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
NJ-446 posing for this shot
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Making sure to look awesome!
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Flying from the left to the right
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Having a look at the crowd
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Creating a little vapor with the speed
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Plenty of power to climb
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Blurring the sky with a trail of hot exhaust
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
While showing off their aircraft to the crowd, the USCG was ready for action if needed
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Fat Albert executing low level takeoff
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Climbing and banking like a fighter
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Fat Albert flying low, steady, and fast
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Smoke check
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Lifting off to start the show
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Trailing in the slot position
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
#5 Solo doing the dirty roll takeoff
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Nice and tight echelon formation
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
The Solos chasing each other to get back to formation with the team
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Loose diamond formation straight and level
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
#5 and #6 going at it with the vertical pitch maneuver
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
Diamond dirty loop done dirt cheap
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
C-130J doing a banana pass
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
A tighter diamond formation banana pass
(Chris Tonthat© * an i2i Production)
 

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