The RAAF’s 4SQN based at Williamtown has received the first three of its Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainers.
Formerly called the Froward Air Control Development Unit (FACDU), 4SQN provides training for RAAF and Australian Army joint terminal attack controller (JTACs).
The PC-21s replace three specially-configured PC-9/A(F)s which were retired in September 2019. The higher performing PC-21s are yet to be configured with an underwing stores capability, but this will be done to ensure they can carry external auxiliary fuel tanks, smoke rockets, and other training stores.
“The PC-21 will assist in preparing the next generation of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), supporting Forward Air Control and Air Surface Integration across a broad spectrum of operations,” Commanding Officer 4SQN, WGCDR Sean Jobson said in a release. “The arrival of the new aircraft will ensure personnel have the opportunity to continue to execute kinetic effects in real time scenarios.”
Like the PC-9/A(F)s, 4SQN’s PC-21s are painted in a gloss grey scheme with low viz national markings. Acquired under Project AIR 5428 Pilot Training System, these aircraft were amongst the last of the 49 PC-21s on order to be accepted into service in late 2019.