1982, the US Air Force issued a Next Generation Trainer (NGT) competition
for primary flight instruction that intended to replace the Cessna T-37.
Initially it was planned that the Air Force would purchase 650 of
the trainers through 1993 and that they would serve well into the 21st
In order to validate the proposed aircraft's
design, and to explore its flight handling characteristics, Fairchild
Republic contracted with Ames Industries to build a flyable 62% scale
testbed, the Model 73. The Model 73 won the
competition and designated T-46 Eaglet.
The T-46 prototype was first flight tested at Edwards AFB on 15 October
1985. The plane performed beyond expectation during the testing phase.
However, due to budget
constraints, the Air Force cancelled the T-46 program in 1986 after only
three aircrafts had been completed. The T-46 was the last project of the
Fairchild Republic Corporation, and after the program termination it had
no more income. Without any new contracts and the NGT program cancelled,
the company closed the Republic factory, bringing 60 years of Fairchild
aircraft manufacturing to an end.