Tining airplanes in the air forces of any country have always played a very important role. Before beingra entrusted with combat machines, beginner pilots must pass an obligatory flight test on a trainer to acquire the theoretical skills learnt in the classroom. Quite often, two-seat versions of ordinary fighting machines have been used for this, when future fighter pilots are being prepared for example. However, as a rule, initial flights have been conducted in purpose-built basic trainers.
In the history of America's air arms one of the most epoch-making machines of this class was North American's T-6 Texan, designed before the beginning of WWII and produced in a quantity of more than 15 thousand units. This machine was exported to many countries around the world, and its service lasted until the end of the 1960's. However with the end of the piston-engined era it became clear that a new airplane was needed which could replace the T-6 Texan for basic pilot training. The US Navy had a particular need for a new airplane - the fleet had now become the basis of the country's strategic projected power, and that is why it was necessary to build a machine for the speedy training of the new generation of beginner pilots to co-operate with ships and land an airplane on a carrier deck.
In 1946 the North American firm offered the XSN2J project to the Navy, which had to replace the SNJ (the Navy's name for the T-6). A year later, the Air Force also decided to replace the T-6, and North American quickly modified a prototype to the army specification, becoming the T-28. The first test flights took place in September 1949 and their results more than satisfied the military. North American received an order for 266 machines, designated the T-28A Trojan. The airplane had a classic tandem seating arrangement, a large cockpit with an excellent view, and could carry a variety of ordnance on the pylons under the wings if required. The airplane appeared so successful, that the North American firm soon brought additional manufacturing plants on stream. By the mid 1950's almost 1,200 T-28A's were produced.
Very soon after the acceptance of the T-28A into service the Air Force decided to improve the performance of the plane and install a more powerful engine. In such fashion appeared the T-28B fitted with a 1,425-power Wright Cyclone R-1820-9HD engine. The nose of the fuselage was modified to allow for the installation of a bigger engine, however on the whole the T-28B looked very much like its predecessor. Its flying weight increased slightly, however this did not reduce its performance figures; quite the opposite, they became even better due to the more powerful engine. Over three years the Navy received almost 500 airplanes of the T-28B version. Also, the Air Force began to replace the T-28A with the T-28B.
Apart from the USA, the T-28 was produced under license in France, where it was named the T-28S Fennec. After the end of service in the French Air Force these machines were passed on to various countries, from Morocco to Nicaragua. The Japanese Air Self Defense Force procured a T-28S for tests; however mass production which was planned with the support of the Mitsubishi company was cancelled. Some T-28B's, with provision for armament under the wings, were delivered to the Air Forces of South Vietnam and Thailand as foreign aid.