Pilatus Aircraft has handed over the 75th PC-7 MkII turboprop trainer to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, the Swiss company reported on Tuesday 10 November. The delivery is also the final under a contract singed between Pilatus and India on 24 May 2012. The introduction of the PC-7 MkII revolutionized basic pilot training for the Indian Air Force, Pilatus states.
The first trainer arrived in India in February 2013. Since then, the fleet has flown more than 40,000 hours and accumulated well over 80,000 landings. The PC-7 MkII enabled the IAF to increase the basic training syllabus in terms of flight hours by 220 percent compared to previous operations and also increase the solo content from 1 to 14 sorties.
Commenting on the delivery of the 75th aircraft with its “commemorative livery”, Jim Roche VP Government Aviation & Deputy CEO of Pilatus said: “We are extremely pleased to have completed delivery of all PC-7 MkII trainer aircraft well ahead of the original IAF schedule requirement. Delivering and supporting the IAF’s Basic Flight Training requirements has been a remarkable experience and we remain fully committed to supporting the fleet’s in-service operations with equal efficiency and competence.”
Next May, the first of ten Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Pilatus PC-7 turboprop trainer aircraft will return to its Swiss birthplace of Stans for an update of its analogue cockpit. Student pilots will be presented with a digital cockpit in the future.
The RNLAF owns a 13-strong fleet of Pilatus PC-7 trainers, the first of which were delivered in 1989. The air force plans to use the aircraft as a platform for basic flight training for quite some time to come. Service life should last until 2027 at least.
The update also involves reinforcements to the wings and landing gear, securing another 60,000 flight hours for the modernized fleet in total. The update for the remaining three trainers is still being discussed.
Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus will deliver the five PC-7 Mark II aircraft ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF/TUDM) at the end of 2016, sources in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur confirmed on 18 May 2015.
The prop trainers will be added to the 16 PC-7 Mark IIs already operated by the Air Force’s 1 Flight Training Centre and Flight Instructor School based at Alor Setar / Sultan Abdul Halim RMAF Base. The other aircraft were purchased between 1999 and 2006, but the RMAF has a wish to replace all 32 older Mark I versions of the Swiss trainer that have served the Asian country since the 1980s.
According to Malaysian media the Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia will outsource the basic training of helicopter pilots to a private company that flies six Eurocopter EC120s. Much more on the Royal Malaysian Air Force you can read
in our extensive ↑ Overview: Air Forces of Malaysia.
The call of Indian Air Chief Marshal chief Browne has been heard. A bit at least, since the government in New Delhi gave the green light on 28 February to purchase another 38 Swiss-designed Pilatus PC-7s basic trainers.
India already ordered 75 PC-7 Mark IIs, with about 60 delivered so far. Final delivery is planned for mid-2015. Chief Brown actually wants another 106 Pilatus aircraft, but the government favours the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited indigenous development of the HTT-40 training aircraft instead. This means the IAF will probably have to buy 68 or more HHT-40s its military leadership doesn’t want.
The Air Force does get a new Lockheed Martin C-130J (Super) Hercules, New Delhi confirmed. It is an attrition replacement for the Herc that crashed near Gwalior in March 2014. Additional airlift is on its way as the Indian government wants to engage in futher negotiations to purchase up to 56 Airbus C295 tactical airlifters to replace the aging Hawker Siddeley HS 748 transport aircraft. If the deal comes through 16 will be delivered directly by Airbus, the rest will be build under license by Tata in India.
Moreover, the Indian Ministry of Defence will start talks with Japan for a possible future delivery of up to 15 ShinMaywa US-2 large amphibious search-and-rescue aircraft.
The Indian Air Force PC-7 MkII fleet has notched up 12,000 flying hours and accumulated well over 24,000 landings at the Indian Air Force training centre at Dundigal Airbase since deliveries began in February last year. Pilatus mentioned the milestones in a 8 May 2014 press release.
According to the Swiss aircraft manufacturer, the numbers demonstrate the performance of the PC-7 MkII training platform and the co-operation between the Indian Air Force and Pilatus in maintaining and operating a reliable basic trainer aircraft.
As of April, less than two years after contract signature, the Indian Air Force took delivery of 35 PC-7 MkII aircraft and the remaining 40 aircraft are being flown-in on a monthly basis under an accelerated delivery schedule.
The Indian Air Force is able to maintain a high availability rate on the flight line since the introduction of the new trainer. Plans to raise the number of student pilots by 150 percent are in the works, as the Indians are confident that the PC-7 MkII will provide the capacity. Furthermore according to Pilatus, the PC-7 MkII has enabled the Indian Air Force to increase the basic training syllabus in terms of flight hours by 220 percent compared to the old syllabus and increase the solo content from only 1 to 14 sorties.
Also, the first PC-7 MkII Fixed Base Full Mission Simulator became operational at Dundigal this March, with a second simulator and additional Ground-Based Training Systems due to be installed by the end of this year.