The first Pilatus PC-21 for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) was seen outside the factory in Stans-Buochs on February 21.
PC-21 A54-017 (c/n 250, HB-HWQ) is the first of two aircraft for the ARDU. The first 16 Australian PC-21s were for 2 Flying Training School (2FTS).
The latest pair to have been delivered to the RAAF were A54-011/HB-HWK (c/n 244) and A54-012/HB-HWL (c/n 245), which left the Pilatus plant on January 13 and, after several stops en route, arrived at Adelaide Airport, South Australia, from Darwin on January 21. They continued to RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria, the next day, to join 2FTS. These are the 11th and 12th PC-21 deliveries to the RAAF.
Under the AUS$1.2bn Australian Defence Force Pilot Training System deal, signed in December 2015, Lockheed Martin Australia is delivering 49 PC-21s to the RAAF, along with seven flight simulators, learning aids, courseware and support for an initial seven-year term.
The first RAAF PC-21 made its maiden flight at Stans on July 21, 2016, followed by the second on August 8 of the same year. The first two aircraft commenced their delivery flight from Switzerland on February 10 last year. The initial training courses on the type are scheduled to begin early next year.
The latest PC-21s on the production line at Stans are A54-018, the 18th for the RAAF, which was noted at the plant in December. The 15th trainer, A54-015, is the meanwhile latest to enter flight test. The first PC-21 for the RAAF’s Roulettes display team, A54-019, has also now entered final assembly.