Fennec  in  the Sunrise

the cockpit

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 "T-28 FENNEC"

The discovery

My flight log


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      It all starts in 1950 when when the US Air Force decides to replace its T-6 harvard fleet of trainers and place orders to North American for  a total of 1200 T-28A. That model is equipped with a 800 Hp, 7 cylinders radial engine, Wright R-1300 Cyclone fitted with a 2 blades propeller.


The design is so successful that in 1952 the US Navy requests NA to develop a new version with a more powerful engine. The T-28B will receive the 9 cylinders, 1425 HP version of the Cyclone with a 3 blade propeller and a belly mounted airbrake. (Full size picture from "Jet Alpine Fighters")



     Delighted once again by the result, the Navy decides to adapt the aircraft for carrier landing training and adds a tail hook, creating the T-28C. Note that so far, none off those versions is fitted to receive any weaponry .

     This T-28C is located on the Belgian Mons-Saint Ghislain (EBSG) airfield. Full size picture available at Airliners.net


  In 1958/9, the "Armée de l'Air française" is engaged in a counter insurgency war in Algeria and wishes to replace the aging T-6 which she uses as observation and ground forces support. Aware of the T-28  success in the US, she decides to buy a few T-28B's, but the Navy has no surplus. In the meantime, the Air Force has begun to get rid of its A models and a company called Pac-Aero sells them to civilians after converting them by installing either a 1300 Hp or  1425 Hp engine (Nomad 1 and 2). Based on that experience, the French army purchases 150 T-28A airframes.

      These frames will be delivered to Sud-Aviation which adapt them by installing the B model 1425 Hp engine (coming from surplus B-17) and 3 blades propeller, but  also adds  weaponry anchor points under the wings, and of course some crew combat protection plates. The new model, called "FENNEC" (desert fox) by the French's, and sometimes referred to as T-28S in Us literature, can then be armed with four 250 lbs bombs, or two pods containing each two .50 machine guns and ammunitions, or two rocket launchers, or any possible combination of those.

         Here is a picture of the Fennec #67 over the Algerian djebel armed with one small 6 rockets cluster and a larger rocket ramp launcher. (Click the picture to enlarge)

You can see a good picture of the Fennec armament possibilities on this site : T-28 Fennec des ailes pour un renard.  (text in French). Another document explains the organisation of the EALA's (Light aircrafts ground supprt squadrons)


     In 1962, the US Air Force being also involved in counter insurgency wars in SE Asia and in Africa will follow the French idea and modify some of its T-28B to a new T-28D or AT-28D version. This probably explains why some of the warbirds exhibited today in the US as FENNEC have an airbrake, which, to my knowledge,  the Fennec never had. I strongly suspect they are repainted T-28D's  . Click on the picture for more details about that T-28. exhibited as Fennec # 1, airframe s/n 51-7632. If you know something about that, be kind to let me know and I will adapt my comments.

 Picture courtesy of Brian Lockett  at the Goleta Air-and-Space Museum

If you understand French, pay a visit to that site for more details :  Georges Kern's Fennec #82 , or this one

     Today there are 250 to 300 airworthy T-28  throughout the world.

     As far as the Fennec's are concerned, the French air army offered them for sale from 1964 thru 1967, the two major buyers being Argentina and Morocco, who have later sold a few of them to Uruguay and Honduras; a few others have been purchased by US traders, some of which being used in Haiti for a while before coming back to the States. Some others  were finally purchased by private owners who provide in-flight shows during air meetings.

     Part of the 65 aircrafts delivered to Argentina (Navy) has been fitted with a tail hook and used as attack planes operating from  the sea carrier "25 de Mayo" as T-28P. If you understand a bit of Spanish, click "HERE", anyhow, there are some very interesting pictures.

     All those steps are compiled in a table describing the last known situation of each airplane , as well as her intermediate registration number. Part of these informations come from the individual records published by the "Warbirds Registry". You can access those records by clicking on the last four digits of the airframe  #.  You can also see more pictures (when available) by clicking on the registration #. The French publication "Le Trait d'Union", www.histarmar.com.ar Argentina's  webmaster  have also provided useful information.

     Most of the pictures are displayed thru a link to external sites and are the property of their owner. They may therefore not be copied or used without their permission.    

     If ever you have pictures or documents showing of a Fennec showing both the airframe and Fennec number, please mail me that information or, if you have that possibility, send me a copy of the document (picture size 600 x 450 pixels mini if possible))

Although I missed it during my quest for information, you can find confirmation of my story on that site : http://www.courtesyaircraft.com/T28_prof.htm