PICTURES: Australian PC-21 achieves frst flight
July 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment
The first of 49 PC-21 destined for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has completed its initial production test flight from the Pilatus factory at Stans-Buochs, Switzerland, just a mere seven months after contract signature. To be assigned the serial A54-001, the PC-21 will undergo testing and verification work in both Switzerland and Australia prior to handover to the RAAF in June 2017.
Under a contract signed in December 2015 as part of the RAAF’s Project AIR 5428, 49 PC-21s and a comprehensive ground-based training and in-service support package are to be provided by a consortium known as 'Team 21', comprising Lockheed Martin Australia, Pilatus, and Hawker Pacific. The type will replace the aging PC-9/A fleet which has been the RAAF basic training platform since 1988.
Twenty-two aircraft are to be allocated to the Central Flying School based at RAAF East Sale, Victoria, for basic training and instructor training while a further 20 will be assigned to No. 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Pearce for advanced training. RAAF Pearce is also home to the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 130 Squadron which has been operating 19 PC-21s in a basic training role since 2008. A further four will be based RAAF Williamtown, NSW, for Forward Air Control training duties with No. 4 Squadron while the remaining three will be assigned to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, for flight test-related duties.
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