Spanish Air Force selects PC-21 trainer aircraft

Spain has selected the Pilatus PC-21 to replace its aged fleet of jet-powered CASA C-101 trainers.

Spanish Air Force selects PC 21 trainer aircraft A PC-21 landing at RAF Fairford, England, 2010 (Picture source: Anthony Noble)

The total value of the order announced on 27 November is €204.75 million ($226.66 million) for a package that also includes simulators and a logistics package.

The PC-21 is designed not only to satisfy the requirements for basic and advanced military pilot training but also to provide enhanced training for all aircrew in the following skills: mission planning and tactical navigation, mission system management, civil flight management, electronic warfare, air-to-air operations and air-to-ground operations including radar training, simulated weapons employment and night vision goggles operation. The PC-21 is enhanced by the ability to adapt the aircraft avionics to the requirements of each phase of training. The front and rear cockpits can be de-coupled for independent operation or to allow instructor access to training modes and data not available to the trainee.

The delivery timeline Spain laid out calls for the first six aircraft to be handed over in 2020, followed by six more before the end of August 2021, with the remainder arriving by April 2022. With this acquisition, Spain will become the 10th country to operate the PC-21, following Australia (49), France (17), Jordan (12), Qatar (24), Saudi Arabia (55), Singapore (19), Switzerland (8), the United Arab Emirates (25), and the United Kingdom. The latter has two civil-registered aircraft assigned to the Qinetiq-run Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down.

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