The French Air Force has signed an agreement with Babcock Mission Critical Services France (BMCSF) for future jet pilot training utilizing the Pilatus PC-21 turboprop. The eleven year agreement calls for the purchase of 17 PC-21 aircraft.
“We are delighted that our French company will be working as a key support partner on this major French defense contract,” said Archie Bethel, chief executive of Babcock International Group. “The project will draw on our expertise in the European aviation industry and our experience of delivering long-term military flight training programs,” he continued.
The contract calls for between 11,000 and 13,500 annual flying hours, training 50 aircrews. The new PC-21 aircraft and simulators will be based at Cognac, where they will replace the Grob G120A and Socata TB 30 Epsilon piston-powered trainers.
Watch a Swiss Pilatus PC-21 in Action!
“I am delighted we have finally won another European air force for our PC-21,” said Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk. “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. France is the eighth air force to choose the PC-21; 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.” – AINonline
Pilatus calls the PC-21 the “NextGen” Trainer, a platform to train the next generation of military pilots. The PC-21 has a wingspan of almost 30 feet, maximum speed of over 350 miles per hour, and a maximum takeoff weight of 6834 pounds. The Pilatus is rated (in the aerobatic category) at positive 8 G’s and negative 4 G’s.
Other countries utilizing the PC-21:
- Swiss Air Force (8 PC-21)
- Republic of Singapore Air Force (19 PC-21
- United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence (25 PC-21)
- Royal Saudi Air Force (55 aircraft)
- Qatar Emiri Air Force (24 aircraft)
- Australian Defence Force has signed a contract for the purchase of 49 PC-21.
- Royal Jordanian Air Force has chosen the Pilatus PC-21 Training System (8 aircraft).
Featured Image by Pilatus