On behalf of the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire), the Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM) has signed a contract with Pilatus Aircraft for the procurement of an integrated pilot training system based on the PC-21 aircraft, the Swiss company announced on 31 January.

In confirming an order for 24 aircraft, Spain thus becomes the third European nation to opt for the ‘Next-Generation Trainer’ PC-21. The single-engine turboprop trainer aircraft will replace the Casa C-101 jet trainers, in servic since 1980.

Spain sought a new, highly efficient training platform to provide advanced training for the nation’s future military pilots tasked with protecting future generations. The PC-21 was selected after a long and extremely professional evaluation. The contract, valued at over €200 million, was signed on 30 January and includes Pilatus-developed simulators, spare parts and logistics support in addition to the aircraft.

As a small Swiss aircraft manufacturer, I’m delighted at our repeated success in winning through over large, international competitors. This result is proof that, with our PC-21, we can deliver the very best training system in the world […] We shall provide [the] Ejército del Aire with the first-class customer service they are entitled to expect from Pilatus” commented company Chairman, Oscar J Schwenk.

The schedule calls for pilot training to begin on the new system in 2021. Experience with existing PC-21 customers has shown that the cost of training for a military pilot can be reduced by over 50% using the PC-21, which requires much less fuel than any comparable jet trainer.

Traditionally, there was a widespread belief that single-engine turboprops would never replace jet trainers. But with defence budgets coming under increasing pressure, air forces now seek new ways of managing and maintaining their complex systems in mission-ready condition. Seeking to support this change, Pilatus developed performance-related services specifically tailored to the PC-21 Training System. The goal is to ensure an affordable product to match the performance criteria defined by air force customers. This is achieved by providing a highly sophisticated and integrated service package in line with current air force requirements.

Including the new order, Pilatus has now sold 235 PC-21s to nine air forces – including Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, France and Australia.

A PC-21 with a Swiss Air Force F/A-18 HORNET. (Photo: Pilatus Aircraft)

- Mönch Publications - Latest Issues -

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I agreeMore Information