Lockheed Martin and Swiss Pilatus Aircraft joint bid – together with Hawker Pacific – to supply the Royal Australian Air Force with a new basic trainer has finally had its confirmed success.
Canberra confirmed on Sunday 6 September that it has choosen this “Team 21” to deliver 49 new Pilatus-designed PC-21 turboprop aircraft to replace the aging PC-9/A fleet of Training Command’s Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and the 2 Flight Training School at RAAF Pearce. Both bases will likely manage a fleet of 22 aircraft, with 5 additional PC-21s used for testing and as a reserve.
Officially the Australian government still calls Team 21’s bid “the preferred choice”, but nobody doubts that when the details of the deal have been worked out another plane would be choosen. The choice seems to mark the end of 4 Squadron flying the PC-9/As out of RAAF Williamtown and which is not mentioned in the modernisation program. Currently Williamtown helps putting the 63 aircraft strong PC-9/A fleet in the air.
Already in May there seemed no other option left than the PC-21, which clearly won from the BAE Systems, Beechcraft and CAE Australia counter-bid to bring the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II into the RAAF’s ranks.
Australia has had a taste of the PC-21 already, since the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Basic Wings Course (BWC) program has been running at RAAF Pearce for eight years now as part of a 20-year program, with the RSAF having a total of 19 PC-21s on strength. Hawker Pacific and Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, are principal subcontractors to Lockheed Martin, the training systems integrator.
The first pair of Royal Australian Air Force PC-21s is expected in 2017.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has signed a contract for the purchase of nine PC-9M training aircraft, Swiss company Pilatus announced on Monday 10 August. The order also includes a simulator, training equipment and a comprehensive logistics support package.
Keen to modernise its pilot training facilities, the RJAF has opted for the Pilatus PC-9M for basic and advanced pilot training. The order was only awarded after several years of hard negotiations, from which the PC-9M finally emerged as the winner. The RJAF now uses the Slingsby T-67 Firefly for basic flight training and the CASA C-101 jet trainer for advanced training. Both operate for Mafraq airbase, home of the RJAF King Hussein Air College.
Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Pilatus, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a new member of the Pilatus family. I am equally happy that Pilatus won the deal against several other international competitors and that, in the final round, the Royal Jordanian Air Force chose our PC-9 M over all other aircraft.”
Just last week, Airheadsfly.com reported about Omani pilots getting successfully trained by the Croatian Air Force on Pilatus PC-9s. But now, the training is proving perhaps a bit too successful – for the Croatian instructor pilots, that is. Six of them have resigned to start working for the Royal Air Force of Oman, the Croatian Ministry of Defense has confirmed.
The instructor pilots are also part of six PC-9 strong Croatian Air Force demonstration team Wings of Storm, regularly seen across Europe. Croatian media described the resignation of the pilots as ‘a serious blow’ to the nation’s defense.
And somehow, at Airheadsfly.com we think we won’t see Omani students in Croatia anymore anytime soon.
The Croatian Air Force Training Centre at 93. Air Force and Air Defence Base in Zemunik started flight training on the Pilatus PC-9M of the second group of Royal Air Force of Oman pilots on 26 February 2015.
The program has five major modules: fundamental and acrobatic, navigation, instrument, night and group flying, plus a combination of all. Target is to prepare the Oman military pilots to move on to their future operational flying units.
A dozen pilots of the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) successfully completed their flight training on Croatian PC-9M aircraft at Zemunik Airbase in Zadar on 18 December 2014, the Croatian Ministry of Defence confirmed on 19 December 2014.
Zemunik is also known as 93. Air Force Base and Air Defence and the Croatian Air Force Training Centre. There are four flying units based at the location: the Transport Helicopter Squadron with the Mil Mi-8MTV-1, the Firefighting Squadron with the AirTractor AT-802s and Bombardier (Canadair) CL-415s, the Helicopter Training Squadron with the Bell 206B and the Fixed-Wing Aircraft Squadron with the Zlin 242L and the Pilatus PC-9M.
According to visiting Omani officials the training of new pilots might continue at Zemunik, once a new group of aspirant-pilots is formed.
The Omani pilots are likely to continue their training back home at Masirah Airbase. After familiarization on the PC-9Ms of 1 Squadron there, they are likely to move up to the British Aerospace Hawk 103s of 6 Squadron.