Spanish Air Force’s First PC-21

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The Spanish Ministry of Defence, through the General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM) will deliver to the Spanish Air Force, the Ejército del Aire, based in San Javier, Murcia province, its first PC-21, and will immediately integrate the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus to be part of the 792 Squadron, the Basic Training School in the Spanish Air Force Academy. Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain by June 2022, raising air force pilot training to state-of-the-art level.

After a lengthy and exceptionally professional evaluation, Pilatus prevailed over all the international competition to win the contract with the PC-21 in 2020. The first PC-21 was handed over in San Javier on Sept 14, 2021.

Brigadier General León-Antonio Machés, of the Spanish Air Force, who is also Deputy Director General of Programmes commented at the handover said, “We are very pleased to be able to integrate such an advanced training system. Not only will the PC-21 revolutionise our pilot training and take it to a whole new level, it will also allow us to reduce the cost of our pilot training.”

VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, André Zimmermann added, “We’re delighted that the first PC-21 in the national colours will take to the Spanish skies as of now. Spain – a renowned and highly professional air force – is already the third air force in Europe to have opted for the world’s most advanced training system and we are confident that others will follow Spain’s example.”

Besides Switzerland and Spain, France is the third European nation to adopt the PC-21 earlier in July 2021. In Asia-Pacific, the PC-21 is in service of the air forces of Australia and Singapore. Over 230 PC-21s are now in service with nine air forces worldwide.

First PC-21 Training Course from 2022

The air force will launch its first pilot training course in September 2022. The PC-21 will provide Spain with not only the most technically advanced training system, but a cost-effective, ecological training platform as well. Experience with existing PC-21 customers shows that the budget for training a student military pilot can be reduced by more than 50% with the PC-21. These single-engine turboprops require far less fuel than comparable jet trainers. Besides the actual aircraft, the PC-21 training system includes state-of-the-art simulators, computer-based training and virtual reality tools. Pilatus thus offers the most advanced, most powerful integrated training system currently available on the market.

–shp/adj/kf (Photo: Pilatus)