Pilatus has completed its initial production test flight of the first of 49 PC-21 aircraft destined for the Australian Defence Forces.
Under a contract signed in December 2015 aimed at harmonising Australian Defence Force flight training across all three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – Pilatus will deliver a total of 49 PC-21 which will operate from four Royal Australian Air Force bases. Pilatus will also supply significant elements of ground based training equipment and the in-service support capability, the company said in a statement Thursday.
This first PC-21, registered as A54-001, will be handed over to the Royal Australian Air Force at East Sale in June 2017 after completion of testing and verification work in both Switzerland and Australia.
Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus said, “This initial flight of the first Australian PC-21, only seven months after contract signature.”
Under the AIR 5428 project the PC-21 aircraft will replace both the aging PC-9 fleet, which has been in service since 1988, and also the CT-4 aircraft currently used for basic training. The PC-9 is due to be withdrawn in 2019.