French Air Force Takes Delivery of First Two Pilatus PC-21 Advanced Trainer Aircraft

Swiss aerospace manufacturer, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. has delivered the first two Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer aircraft to the French Air Force.

The aircraft are the first two of 17 PC-21 single-engine trainer aircraft ordered by France on 30th December 2016 in a €500 million contract. The contract signed by the French Air Force is with Babcock Mission Critical Services France (BMCSF), with Pilatus as a sub-contractor, in which role our PC-21 and other ground-based training material will contribute to completion of the overall contract.

With the order, France became the second European nation after Switzerland to opt for the PC-21. The completion of the delivery of all 17 aircraft is expected before 2019 end.

The first French Air Force PC-21 made its maiden flight on 10 July last year from Pilatus’ production facility located in the center of Switzerland, in Stans (Nidwalden). The aircraft bore a serial number 293 and registration number 709-FC.

PC-21s will be used by France to train future military pilots who will transfer to the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet advanced jet trainer prior to their conversion on to the Dassault Rafale, a multi-purpose 4.5 generation fighter aircraft.

Pilatus PC-21

The Pilatus PC-21 is a turboprop-powered single-engine advanced trainer aircraft with a stepped tandem cockpit, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland.

The aircraft features a tandem-seating arrangement (student in-front/instructor behind) in a bird strike-resistant glass canopy with allround vision. The cabin, which is pressurized, is equipped with an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), air conditioning, and Martin-Baker CH16C Zero-Zero ejection seats.

The PC-21 is powered by a single 1,600 shaft horse power Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B turboprop engine, which drives a five-bladed graphite Hartzell scimitar propeller on the aircraft’s nose; it has been claimed by Pilatus that the PC-21 possesses speed and climb rates previously normally performed only by jet-powered aircraft.

A key feature of the PC-21 is the embedded simulation and training suite, which provides cross-platform cockpit emulation, weapons simulation, stores management system, simulated radar and electronic warfare, a tactical situation display, and data link functionality.

The type can be applied for various training capacities, including basic flying training, advanced flight training, full mission management training, and embedded simulation/emulation.

Nine customers have bought 211 PC-21s since its maiden flight in 2002.

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