The final aircraft from the Air Force Pilatus PC-21 fleet has been officially welcomed at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.
The PC-21 is the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft and is a key component of the $1.5 billion Air 5428 project.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds congratulated Defence, Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Jet Aviation for delivering the fleet of 49 aircraft.
“This Pilot Training System will ensure young pilots looking to serve in the ADF have access to the latest facilities and training,” Minister Reynolds said. “This investment is part of our government’s commitment to continue producing highly skilled and talented personnel across the Navy, Army and Air Force.”
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester joined members of the ADF, and industry leaders, to mark the milestone with an impressive display from the Air Force aerobatics team, the Roulettes.
“Undergraduate pilots at RAAF Bases 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,” Chester said.
“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 PC-21 replaces the PC-9/A aircraft, which is concluding its 30 year service at the end of the year, having successfully training thousands of aircrew across all three services.