Pilatus, Adrian Pingstone
Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has recently announced the signing of three PC-21 fleet orders by end of December 2016, for a total of 21 PC-21s, of which 17 are for the French Air Force and two each for the Royal Jordanian Air Force and QinetiQ, a British company which operates the "Empire Test Pilots' School". Together, these orders are worth over 300 million Swiss francs and will help to ensure jobs at Stans.
French Air Force
The French Air Force (Armée de l'air française), one of the world's most prestigious air forces, 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 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 our 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 world's most 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, and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. 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.
Royal Jordanian Air Force
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, comments on the contracts as follows:
"I am delighted we have finally won another European air force for our PC-21. An exceptionally rigorous selection process based on the strictest of criteria provides further proof that the PC-21 is the first choice worldwide for training military pilots. I am proud that our best-selling PC-21 is now destined to fly for 'la Grande Nation'. 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 flying successfully from bases around the world. I'm confident that other European air forces will follow France's example!"
Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, adds:
"Pilatus is pleased to be part of the programme of modernisation at QinetiQ Test Aircrew Training. Our PC-21 will provide a training platform for the next generation of test pilots worldwide. That a global leader in the test flight sector decides to replace ageing Hawks and Alpha Jets with the PC-21 is a tribute to our product's performance and flexibility."
Pilatus feels obligated, and will endeavour, to provide our PC-21 customers with the Swiss quality and outstanding customer service which they deserve, delivering them with the world's most up-to-date pilot training system – the Pilatus PC-21.