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USAH August 2022 Issue

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March 2022 / Volume 5/ Article 64www.usaeronauticalhistory.comAugust 2022 / Volume 5/ Article 68www.usaeronauticalhistory.comSOCOM P a r a -Co m m A n d o sLAKOTA UH-72

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1 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comUSAHStaffUnited States Aeronautical History (USAH) is a non-profit organization that was established and dedicated to preserve, educate and maintain the history of aviation in the United States and abroad. USAH is committed to making sure the history is kept alive, archived and accessible for the next generation. We are devoted to the aircraft, aviation equipment, and the stories of those men and women; from the 1903 Flyer with the Wright Brothers, to present day aviation, both Military and Civilian.We feel it is imperative to keep the existence of our Military and Civilian Aviation alive to allow our youth to explore and gain the knowledge of the great history that would otherwise be forgotten. At USAH, we are able to provide this through monthly digital magazine issues, documentaries, photos and videos. We work to support the collection and archive of information as it pertains to aviation.Here at USAH we cover many aerial events such as; U.S. Military/Military Decommissions, Commercial Aviation, Pilot, Air Shows, Experimental, Air Racing, Aerobatic, Expos and simply put...everything aviation.USAHP.O. Box 56Claymont, DE 19703(302) 927-1133 We want our Military of All Branches........those serving currently and veterans, that you are never are always in our thoughts and prayers to keep you close to God's angels and to protect you while protecting our freedom and bring you home safe.Jimi Simmons: V.P.Photographer/Videographer & JournalistShawn Byers Senior Editor Photographer & Guy Spumoni Chief EditorHarry Bristow/U.K.Videographer &PhotographerDave "Hey Joe" ParsonsMilitary Liaison &Contributing EditorCONTENT1. Featured Article-Pgs. 3-13....... SOCOM Para-Cammandos by Jimi Simmons 2. World Flight Brief Segment-Pgs. 14-19..... The Lakota UH-72 by Jimi Simmons 3. Women In Aviation-Pgs. N/A

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2 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comYOU CAN FOLLOW US ON If you or your company is interested in being a corporate sponsor in the production of "Flight Life Magazine", please contact us ! We have many avenues of advertising through USAH! USAH would like to thank our advertisers in this issue for their support and confidence in Flight Life

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5 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comWe are honored to conduct a feature on not just what flies in the air with wings, but the men whom fly out of them. In August?s issue feature of Flight Life Magazine, we bring you the Para-Commandos, the United States Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) premier aerial parachute demonstration team. We had the pleasure of sitting down with SOCOM DOD Assistant Team Leader, Cris Fucci.The Para-Commandos tailor each performance to the individual venue, and can perform from as low as 2000 feet above ground level to as high as 13,500 feet above ground level. Depending on the venue and time of day, The Para-Commandos may jump flags, smoke, sparklers, or a combination of each into the event. The Para-Commandos are proficient in both free fall and canopy formations; and specialize in landing on time and on target in front of the crowd! They perform precision free-fall parachute demonstrations at events across the Nation, and have also performed in Canada.The team?s mission is Special Operations Forces (SOF) education, community engagement, and recruiting.The team represents the 70,000+ Special Operations Forces serving under the U.S. Special Operations Command. There are thousands of SOF deployed around the globe on any given day, and include Army Rangers, Special Forces, and Special Operations Aviation, U.S. Navy SEALs, EOD, and Combat Crewman; Marine Raiders; and Air Force Combat Control, Para-Rescue, and SERE; among other SOF specialties.Additionally, there are numerous enabling career fields that support SOF.I asked Cris what made the decision to combine all special forces into the SOCOM? "The command was activated in 1987 by the Nunn-Cohen Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to unify all U.S. special operations forces and provide unified command, control, and training under a single 4-star commander. Understanding that it was formed in 1987 could you go into detail as to why it was formed? Prior to 1980, special operations forces were service-specific. And while those forces were very capable Article by Jimi SimmonsSOCOM P a r a -Co m m a n d o s

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6 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comwith storied histories, those capabilities were not interoperable. The failed 1980 hostage rescue in Iran was the key driver for the creation of USSOCOM. That mission revealed the lack of interoperability, with equipment, training, and common operational standards, within the U.S. Department of Defense. USSOCOM was created to rectify those issues. Reading about the key political and military leaders in that period, and their decisions that led to the formation of USSOCOM in the wake of Operation EAGLE CLAW, is very interesting. We encourage folks to learn about that dynamic period.USSOCOM just celebrated its 35th anniversary, and the team is proud to honor the fine professionals that preceded us, and represent the current SOF professional serving around the world in 2022," stated Cris.I asked Cris to tell our readers about the SOCOM Team and the members for the 2022 season and what each member?s background is and how they came into the SOCOM Para-Cammandos.?The team is a volunteer team. There are only two full-time team members:the Team Leader is myself, a government civilian who is also retired Army Special Forces; and the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC), SFC Aaron Figel, an active-duty Army Ranger. The team has roster space for 24 jumpers, but we currently have 12 jumpers from various backgrounds, including two international special operations forces. One is from the Czech Republic and the other is German. The team members range from several hundred jumps to over 10,000 jumps. Our most senior jumper is a government civilian and FAA Master Rigger who was President George Bush?s free-fall instructor. We are a joint and combined team. We have U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps team members, and two additional Department of Defense civilian personnel who are both retired U.S. Army,? stated Cris.2022 SOCOM Team Jump at

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7 With the SOCOM being made up of more than one branch of the military, I asked how one is selected to the SOCOM Team. ?A team member must be assigned to the USSOCOM enterprise on MacDill AFB, Florida. That includes the USSOCOM Headquarters or the Special Operations Command - U.S. Central Command, known as SOCCENT. Once assigned to Tampa, a demonstrator candidate must have a minimum of 100 total jumps (static line and/or Military Freefall), and be in an operational military specialty. Once they have met the minimum standards, the team conducts an assessment and training program to ensure that a candidate can safely perform parachute demonstrations. There are three levels of demonstrators on the team:candidates, demonstrators capable of jumping into large area sites such as most air shows, and PROs who perform in stadiums and restricted landing areas. The team also has non-jumping ground crew to perform drop zone safety duties,? stated Cris.I asked Cris to go into detail and explain what type of events SOCOM does other than airshows and what type of preparation goes into an event. ?The team is allowed 12 out of state shows per year, which are usually air shows or sporting events. We have unlimited shows that we can accept in Florida.All of our shows are approved by the Director for Command Support, a Senior Executive Service member, and coordinated with our Communications Office and Legal Office to ensure that the show meets the Community Engagement Plan criteria. In general, we perform at air shows, sporting events, and select community events. Our major sporting events include NFL, MLB, professional soccer, PGA and LPGA, NASCAR, IMSA, and college football, baseball and softball. Our usual event calendar includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Valspar Championship PGA, Pelican Championships LPGA, PNC Championship, multiple football games (including Florida State, Michigan, Ole Miss, USF, and James Madison in 2022) as well as several college football bowl games. We also perform at MLB spring training and minor league games, and the Mobil 1 12-Hours of Sebring IMSA race. Special events such as the Tampa Frogman swim help make up our usual 35-40 shows per year,? stated Cris.I asked Cris to explain to our readers what type of aircraft are utilized for events, and what is the highest altitude SOCOM have all jumped and how long does the training take to become a Para-Commando, and what the training is like and graduation percentage. ?For demonstrations, we like to say that if the door or ramp will open, we will jump from it. We?ve jumped from small aircraft like the R44 helicopter, Cessna 182, and Stearman bi-planes, to large aircraft like C17?s. We use both military and civilian aircraft,

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8 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comrotary and fixed wing, for our demonstrations as coordinated by the show sponsor. For demonstrations, our jump altitudes are as low as 2,000? AGL and as high as 13,500? AGL. But most of our team members are also military free-fall qualified, and most have jumped at altitudes well-over 20,000? AGL on supplemental oxygen. The training and time to be qualified depends on where the new team member enters the program. A jumper with instructor experience or other demonstration team experience may learn our procedures in 60-80 jumps and be fully qualified. Others may take a year or two and several hundred jumps to become qualified. Our graduation rate is very high since all of our jumpers are qualified and experienced, but need to learn demonstration jumping skills. Our standards are precise ? you must be fully proficient with smoke, flags, accuracy landing, free-fall skills, canopy stacking, FAA and U.S. Parachute Association requirements, in addition to all ground operations, before you can perform on show site. We train virtually every weekend that we are in town at our training facility in Zephyrhills, Florida. Ideally, each team member will get a minimum of 100 jumps per year, and most get well-over that number. To do a demonstration, a jumper must have five jumps in the past 60 days and 50 in the past 12 months, on the same size and type canopy to be used for the demonstration,? stated Cris. SOCOM Team Jumping at NFL Game 2020

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9 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comObviously doing what the SOCOM Para-Commandos do is extremely dangerous, especially if you add up the number of jumps they do a year, so I wanted Cris to tell me the most stressful part of the job, and how do they all deal with it. "The most stressful jump is a stadium jump. We deal with that through extensive training, experienced stack leaders, and outstanding equipment.Our primary stadium jump-masters have at least 5,000 jumps and hundreds of stadium jumps. Our site surveys are thorough and there is a plan for multiple options. Make it a night stadium jump and the stress level increases, but competence through training and planning help mitigate the risk. But every jump has a level of performance stress, recognizing that what we do is inherently dangerous, and we need to do it safely while also representing USSOCOM in the most professional manner possible. In a larger sense, the other stress point is work/life balance. The team activities usually occur on weekends, after team members have been working Monday through Friday. That can place a strain on family life, so the team attempts to rotate the traveling members and accommodate family events. But it is not uncommon for the team to travel 6-8 weeks in a row during the spring and fall. Managing that stress is a top priority to ensure our team members stay safe and do not get burned out,? stated Cris. SOCOM Team Conducting The CRW (Canopy Relative Work) Maneuver.

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10 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comWith regards to chutes, are there special aero-dynamic ones or are they performance type chutes. If you could elaborate on that for our readers too. ?The team has three basic types of parachutes. All are ram-air style, civilian parachutes, but they are tailored to the specific demonstrations. They are not the high-performance style parachutes that a Canopy Piloting competitor would use, but they fit well with our profiles. Our demonstration parachutes are the Performance Designs Storm, zero-porosity, 7-cell parachute, with Canopy Formation modifications and the addition of a flag line. We have two sizes:210 and 230 square feet, and we try to keep the wing loading consistent among the team members so small jumpers use the 210 and heavier jumpers use the 230. We also up-size for high elevation drop zones or high-density altitude jumps. Those canopies support our large drop flags and canopy flags, and we use them for all of our stadium jumps. We also have smaller parachutes that range in size from 120-190 square feet that we use for instructor jumps as well as during air show demonstrations to illustrate the difference in the types of parachutes available in the industry. Those are much faster and more maneuverable than the demonstration parachutes, but we only use them in larger landing areas. We also have tandem systems with very large parachutes to carry two personnel,? stated Cris.Other than chutes, what other types of apparatuses are utilized in mission jumps.?The team does not conduct O2 jumps for demonstrations. In general, O2 is required for missions above 17,999? and requires pre-breathing. All of our MFF-qualified personnel have jumped oxygen systems during high altitude jumps. Instead of rucksacks and other equipment, a demonstration jump usually includes a drop flag or canopy flag, and smoke. Most jumpers also wear helmet-mounted cameras which present a snag hazard. Our largest drop flag is a 1500 square foot U.S. flag that weighs about 70 pounds including the weight that flies on the bottom of the flag. The cameras, smoke and flags are additional items that create potential malfunctions hazards and we have emergency procedures for all of the unusual additional items used for demonstrations,? stated Cris.

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Cris went into detail on how they prepare for a jump on a day where there may be windy or unstable conditions, as well as some critical go-no-go situations. ?Our limits are well-defined, especially with wind and cloud limits. Our stadium wind limit is 13.9 MPH on the lip of the stadium, with no more than a 10 MPH wind spread on the ground. For demonstrations, our limit is 15.9 MPH, waiver able to 18.9 MPH by the team Safety and Training Advisor based on multiple variables including the landing area, wind direction, and jumper experience. Our absolute max is 20 MPH, but that also includes consideration for turbulence, wind direction, is the wind steady or gusty, distance to obstacles, etc. We can waiver our exit altitude to as low as 2,000? AGL. When we throw wind drift indicators (aka streamers), if they go more than a mile that is also an area where the jump-master has to consider the overall safety of the mission. We always perform a site survey of the landing area prior to the jump to identify obstacles, define landing patterns, confirm timelines, and go over the specifics of the demonstration. We cannot jump through clouds. A military free-fall mission has different parameters than a demonstration jump,? stated Cris.I asked Cris to take us through a normal work day; from sunrise to sunset. ?For an airshow, the team usually leaves the hotel at 7:30 or 8 AM with the team leader and DZSO going to the air boss meeting, and the rest of the team preparing for the jump to include prepping smoke, packing parachutes, rehearsing the skydiving, etc. At some show sites, there can be hour plus commutes from the hotel to the show site. Prior to loading the aircraft, the entire team goes through a pre-jump briefing which covers every aspect of the jump, to include weather, drop zone details, aircraft procedures, emergency procedures, and finally, a risk assessment. The team rehearses every jump, and conducts an after-action review after the mission. For stadium, canopy formation, and tandem jumps, our risk is automatically Medium. We are usually the opening act at an airshow, so we take off as directed by the air boss, throw streamers, and wait for our time on target. If we are doing a second show, immediately after landing, we gather our gear and prep and pack for the second jump. Once jump ops are complete, our mission is crowd and sponsor interaction. We hand out bracelets, sign programs, talk about special operations career opportunities, and take pictures with the crowd and sponsor VIP's. In some cases, we will do a third jump for a performer party. We can do day and night demonstrations. Then it?s on to sponsor requirements. The communities we travel to are amazing and we take the opportunity to thank them for inviting us and for supporting the military. We have a similar schedule during football games. The typical day is 10-12 hours of preparation, 11

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12 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comChef and his Pitts Special.demonstration execution, recovery, and sponsor interactions. We are on duty every minute of a show, from the time we leave the hotel room until we return.We are representatives of USSOCOM and must conduct ourselves accordingly. We are never ?off the clock? during a show trip,? stated Cris.Understanding that there is a mix of special forces in their group, I had asked Cris how often are they all away from home and how they juggle work vs. family life. ?As mentioned before, we perform about 35-40 weeks per year. A show can be a single jump (such as a football game), or 7-9 jumps at an airshow over multiple days. It?s a tough balance. Most team members come to the headquarter from the operational special operations units, and they have been deployed and away from family routinely over the past twenty years. In some cases, a headquarters assignment is an opportunity to reset and reconnect with family. The team?s schedule can interfere with that process. But our family members are integral to the team?s success. Without their support, the team could not function. Family and our assigned mission in the command are the top priorities. The team comes after both of those .In cases where the team requirements prevent a member from maintaining a work/life balance, we ask them to step away from the team. Our families sacrifice so much during a normal special operations career, and the Para-Commandos are no different. We love what we do, and we are proud to represent the command, but that often comes at a price to family time,? stated Cris.

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13 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLastly, as I conduct with any interview is to ask what they would recommend to any young men and women. In this interview, I asked Cris what are the steps they should first take to be in the special forces/SOCOM Para-Commando?. ?First, young men AND women since most special operations career fields are open to all. The first step is doing some research on the military in general, and then talking to a recruiter. The opportunities are so diverse that it is difficult to say what will be most attracting to a prospective service member, but there is little doubt that there is a career field to meet most aspirations. We are an all-volunteer force, so the first step is to join the military in one of many special operations career fields. But the road is difficult, and a service member will be tested at their limits in the process. Physical fitness is critical regardless of the chosen career, and test scores will determine the career fields that are available. Once through the training pipeline, which can be several years long, a service member will start to acquire additional skills such as free-fall parachuting necessary to be a member of the Special Operations Forces and will begin the journey of a lifetime,? stated Cris.Cris, we thank you and your fellow SOCOM Para-Commandos for taking time out and sharing what you all do not just for performances, but what you do the USA! God bless you all!You can learn more about U.S. Special Operations Command at, and follow the Para-Commandos on Facebook and Instagram using keyword ?SOCOM Para-Commandos.?

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14 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comI found it only fitting to have the Lakota Helicopter in this months issue of World Flight Brief's segment, as this is one of the aircraft that the SOCOM Para-Commandos utilize.The UH-72 Lakota is a twin-engine helicopter with a single, four-bladed main rotor. The UH-72 is a militarized version of the Eurocopter EC145, built by American Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters, Inc.), a division of Airbus Group, Inc.Initially marketed as the UH-145, the helicopter was selected as winner of the United States Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program on June 30th, 2006. In October 2006, American Eurocopter was awarded a production contract for 345 aircraft to replace the aging Bell UH-1H/V Iroquois and Bell OH-58A/C Kiowa helicopters in the US Army and Army National Guard fleets. The UH-72 performs logistics and support missions within the US for homeland security, disaster response missions, and medical evacuations.The U.S. Army's LHX program began in the early 1980s, proposing two helicopter designs with a high percentage of commonality of dynamic components. One was a light utility version ("LHX-U") for assault and tactical movement of troops and supplies, the other was a light scout/attack version ("LHX-SCAT") to complement the growing development of the AH-64 Apache. As the program was developed, the light utilityArticle by Jimi SimmonsT h e L a k o t au h -72

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15 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comversion was dropped and focus was placed on the light attack reconnaissance version, which eventually became the RAH-66 Comanche.In 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense and the US Army made the decision to terminate the RAH-66 program. As part of the termination, the Army retained the future years' funding intended for the Comanche. To replace the capability of the cancelled Comanche, the US Army planned several programs, including three new aircraft. The Army Staff decided that these three aircraft, the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), and the Future Cargo Aircraft (FCA) (later renamed Joint Cargo Aircraft, or JCA), were to be existing, in-production commercial aircraft modified for Army service.The UH-72 is designed to take on a range of missions, from general support and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) to personnel recovery and counter-narcotics operations. They are planned to replace the UH-1 and OH-58A/C, which are older light utility helicopters, and supplant other types in domestic use, primarily those in Army National Guard service. The UH-72 is being procured as a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product, which simplifies logistics support of the fleet. EADS NA has teamed with Sikorsky to provide Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for the UH-72, through its Helicopter Support, Inc. (HSI)/Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance. (SAM) subsidiaries.

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16 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comThe basic UH-72A is simply a commercial EC145 helicopter that has a US Army color scheme and is fitted with an AN/ARC-231 radio. Other than utility transport, the Lakota can be configured for medical evacuation, VIP transport, security and support, and opposing forces training. It is described as the best military aircraft in the inventory for domestic operations, used by the Army National Guard for state support, disaster relief, and homeland defense and by non-deployed active units for MEDEVAC and training. Compared to the previous UH-1 Huey used in those roles, the twin-engine Lakota flies faster at 145 kn (269 km/h; 167 mph) versus 124 kn (230 km/h; 143 mph), has an external hoist system, and has a fully integrated computerized cockpit. The Huey has an advantage in the MEDEVAC role, being able to carry three patients compared to the Lakota's two-patient load, but an average evacuation typically deals with two or fewer patients. The Security & Support Mission Equipment Package (S&S MEP) equipped on the UH-72A allows for homeland security, counter-drug, and border patrol missions to be performed. This package includes an electro-optical/infrared sensor and laser pointer turret, moving map system and touch-screen displays, video management system, digital video recorded and datalink, searchlight, and rescue hoist from the MEDEVAC package.The first aircraft was delivered to the US Army on December 11th, 2006 in Columbus, Mississippi. On December 12th, 2006, General Richard A. Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and Joe Red Cloud, a chief of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Lakota nation, accepted the first UH-72A in an official ceremony. The service estimated that delivery of the planned 345 aircraft would continue until 2017.

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17 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comThe first production helicopters were sent to the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California for medical evacuation missions in January 2007. On June 20th, 2007, the NTC's US Army Air Ambulance Detachment (USAAAD) became the first operational unit to field the Lakota. On July 10th, 2007, the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Flight Detachment at Fort Eustis, Virginia became the second US Army unit fielded with the UH-72A. A report published in August 2007 by the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate (DOT&E) noted that although the Lakota " effective in the performance of light utility missions," it was prone to overheating during operations in the desert conditions of Fort Irwin when not equipped with air conditioning systems. In response, vents were added in the doors to increase cabin air flow; air conditioning has been installed on some Medical and VIP versions, as well as added air conditioning units for crew comfort.The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) located at Fort Polk, Louisiana received their first aircraft on September 7th, 2007. On January 16th, 2009, the United States Military Academy received two UH-72As, replacing two UH-1H helicopters for VIP transport to and from the academy. The helicopters also support the cadet parachute team and cadet training missions. The US Naval Test Pilot School received the first of five UH-72As in September 2009. The UH-72A replaced the TH-6B Cayuse as the prime training aircraft for the test pilot school's helicopter curriculum.

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By March 2010, the Lakota entered service in Puerto Rico, Kwajalein Atoll, and the US Army's missile test range in Germany. On December 20th, 2010, a UH-72A assigned to the Puerto Rico Army National Guard became the first UH-72A to experience a fatal accident. The aircraft crashed at sea off the coast of Puerto Rico and all six personnel aboard were killed.On July 18th, 2012, the US Army's Aviation Flight Test Directorate received three UH-72As at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama; they are used for general support and as chase aircraft to support aviation development testing. With this delivery, the service has received over 200 UH-72As. On September 22nd, 2012, the Oregon Army National Guard's Detachment 1, C Company, 1?112 Aviation, received the first of four UH-72A helicopters during a roll-out ceremony at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Oregon.On March 25th, 2015, Airbus completed assembly of the first UH-72A made specifically for training for the US Army. The training configuration of the Lakota differs from the baseline model in several ways, including an observer seat for the instructor, a "buzz number" on its side for easy identification, and a flight control system that allows it to communicate with Fort Rucker. As part of the Army's aviation restructure initiative, Fort Rucker's fleet of TH-67 training helicopters will be replaced with 187 UH-72s, comprising 106 purpose-built trainers and 81 existing versions that will be modified. As of 2012, the Lakota UH-72 is $5,900,00.00 dollars, and as of September 2020, a total of 463 have been built and sold. In 2020 the Army placed a new order for the latest variant of the Lakota family of aircraft ? the UH-72B. Part of the proven H145 family of aircraft, the UH-72B is the latest iteration of the same commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) aircraft that has been the Army?s Light Utility Helicopter since the first Lakota contract award in 2006.18

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS·Crew: 1 or 2 pilots·Capacit y: 9 troops or 2 stretchers and medical crew / 3,953 lb. payload·Length: 42 ft 9 in ·Height : 11 ft 4 in ·Empty weight: 3,951 lbs·Max takeoff weight: 7,904 lbs·Powerplant: 2 ×Turbomeca Arriel 1E2turboshaftengine, 738 hp each·Main rotor diamet er: 36 ft 1 in ·Main rotor area: 1,022.4 sq ft·Blade sect ion: ONERA OA415/OA312 at root; ONERA OA409/OA407 at tipPERFORMANCE·Maximum speed: 153 mph ·Cruise speed: 90 mph ·Range: 426 mi·Service ceiling: 13,182 ft ·Rat e of climb: 1,600 ft/min 19

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20 This Issue of U.S.A.H. Magazine is brought t o you Proud Sponsors of U.S. Aeronautical History B R U N OU SA H ' s O f f i c i a l M a s c o t