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WWII T-6 Texan trainer aircraft ends its service in Japan

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A piece of history was demilitarized recently in Japan as a World War II-era aircraft was turned in to the Defense Logistics Agency last month for disposal.

According to Japanese Self Defense Force materials, the surplus T-6 Texan was on display from around 1961 until late 1998 at the Japanese base at Hamamatsu. During that time, the aircraft spent around three months as part of a “great exhibition of defense” at another site before being returned to Hamamatsu.

Toshiharu Hoki, a DLA Disposition Services employee at Sagami, Japan, said the plane was obtained for training, but became a display piece after the Japanese received another type of aircraft. It was stored outside after its display use ending in 1998, and the plane only recently came to DLA for demilitarization. Currently, the scrap material from the demilitarization is being offered for sale.

The Aviation History Online Museum notes that the Texan was used to train more military pilots from more countries of the world than any other aircraft ever built before or since. The museum site claims almost every country in South America bought such aircraft for their air forces, as did most European countries, China and the Southeast Asian countries (including Japan).

Many countries also bought manufacturing rights. Japan bought manufacturing rights and was suspected of using some design features in their own aircraft during WWII. A Canadian site on the aircraft’s history also notes that a number of foreign air forces acquired Texans to speed their post-war recovery.

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