The Navy’s air training command will retire the last of its Rockwell T-39 Sabreliner training aircraft this summer, closing out a four-decade service of training Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) in navigation and radar intercept procedures.Training Squadron 86 (VT-86) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., responsible for training NFOs to operate the weapon and sensor systems in the Navy and Marine Corps’ multiseat tactical jets, such as the F/A-18, EA-18G and EA-6B, will retire the last T-39N versions in August. The T-39G non-radar versions already have been withdrawn from service.The T-39s will be replaced by a combination of simulators and the T-45 Goshawk training jet.
The Navy acquired 42 T-39Ds, the first of which entered service in 1963. This fleet was retired in 1984, replaced by 15 Cessna T-47As under a services contract. However, the T-47A services contract was not renewed because of contract irregularities, so the Navy had a batch of 17 Sabreliners refurbished as T-39Ns and placed them in service in late 1991, later joined by eight T-39Gs converted from CT-39G rapid-response transports.The Navy will continue to operate a single T-39D assigned to Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 31 for test work at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif.