Pilatus Aircraft has signed 300 million Swiss francs (US$292.2 million) contract to sell 21 PC-21 advanced trainers, of which 17 are for the French Air Force and two each for the Royal Jordanian Air Force and QinetiQ.
The French Air Force has opted for the 21st century training system. The 17 PC-21s will be used to train future military pilots who will transfer to the Alpha Jet prior to their conversion on to the Dassault Rafale, a multi-purpose 5th generation fighter aircraft, the firm announced today.
The contract signed on the 30th December 2016 by the French Air Force is with Babcock Mission Critical Services France (BMCSF), with Pilatus as a sub-contractor, in which role PC-21 and other ground-based training material will contribute to completion of the overall contract.
In addition to the Swiss Air Force, France is now the second European nation to opt for the PC-21 as part of the advanced, most efficient integrated training system.
Under the contract concluded with QinetiQ, a British company, Pilatus will provide two PC-21s to the "Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS)" based in Wiltshire, in the south of England. Operated by QinetiQ, ETPS functions as a training centre for flight test engineers and test pilots.
The PC-21s with their modified flight instruments will be used to train test pilots and flight test engineers for customers from the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force, having placed an initial order for the PC-9 M in August 2015, re-evaluated their requirement in early 2016 due to previously unforeseen issues with their Lead in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) platform.
The procurement decision was revised following a modification of the training concept, introducing the PC-21 all-through training model – currently the most advanced training system available anywhere on the market.
The contract amendment was initially for eight aircraft but with an option for additional units, if required. The option was now executed for two more PC-21s’, with a total of ten PC-21s’ now providing the backbone of the nation's future pilot training regime. The first deliveries will be undertaken mid-2017.
Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilatus said, "France is already the 8th air force to choose the PC-21: these orders included, we will soon have a total of 209 PC-21s”.