The RAAF’s 49th and final Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainer has arrived in Australia and was handed over in a ceremony at RAAF East Sale in Victoria on December 6.
The PC-21s are being delivered to the RAAF under the Project AIR 5428 Pilot Training Systems (PTS), and will replace the Pilatus PC-9/A in service as the ADF’s advanced fixed-wing training aircraft.
The first two aircraft arrived in Australia in March 2017, and entered service in August 2017. The final PC-21 was accepted by the Head of Air Force Capability AVM Cath Roberts (above), and the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel and local member for Gippsland, Darren Chester.
“Undergraduate pilots at RAAF East Sale and Pearce will now be able to use the best equipment along with a new tailored Pilot Training System, which will meet their needs and those of future recruits,” Mr Chester said in a statement. “The new system can train more people faster and to a higher standard, and will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary skills before moving to more advanced military aircraft.
“From early 2020, the PC-21 will also be used for flight test and evaluation at RAAF Base Edinburgh and forward air control at RAAF Base Williamtown.”
The forward air control role is performed by 4SQN at RAAF Williamtown, and its four PC-21s will be painted in a grey livery. The PC-21 will also be flown by The Roulettes display team and, as with the previous PC-9/A, all aircraft based at the Central Flying School (CFS) at East Sale have been painted in The Roulettes’ livery.
The final PC-21’s arrival and acceptance coincided with the December 5 conclusion of the final PC-9/A Advanced Pilots Training ‘Wings’ course at 2FTS at RAAF Pearce near Perth. The PC-9/A entered service with the ADF in 1988, and has trained thousands of ADF aircrew from all three services.