Spanish Air Force to acquire a further 16 Pilatus PC-21s

Two Spanish Air Force Pilatus PC-21 trainers in formation over the coast.
Photo Credit: Pilatus

Following a 2020 purchase order for 24 Pilatus PC-21 trainers, the Spanish Air Force has now entered another purchase agreement for a further 16 aircraft.

The Spanish Air Force, Ejército del Aire, originally decided to purchase 24 PC-21s in early 2020. The final PC-21 of this order was delivered to Spain in mid-2022.

Largest operator of PC-21s in Europe

The Spanish Air Force has now decided to buy another 16 PC-21s, which will effectively make Spain the largest PC-21 operator in Europe.

Since summer 2022, Spanish military pilots have trained with the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus.

After a very professional negotiation phase, the Spanish Air Force has now ordered another 16 PC-21s to reinforce pilot training with additional Pilatus trainer aircraft.

The training programme of the PC-21 is also be enlarged. In future, the PC-21 will also be used for elementary training in addition to basic training.

Photo Credit: Pilatus

Positive response from Spanish Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Ildefonso Martínez-Pardo González, Academia General del Aire (AGA) Air Operations Group Commander, spoke very highly of the aircraft, commenting:

“Now in use with the Spanish Air and Space Force for over 18 months, the PC-21 integrated training system far exceeds our expectations.”

“Its reliable and efficient powerplant, aerodynamics, safety systems and avionics make the PC-21 a highly versatile trainer, capable of performing any phase of flight training from the most elementary to the most advanced.”

“Our relationship with Pilatus has been outstanding throughout, and a key factor for successful implementation.”

“The excellent collaboration, professionalism and teamwork of everyone involved over the past three years have enabled us to roll out this PC-21 training course in record time without interruption to training.”

Photo Credit: Pilatus

PC-21 & Simulators

14 PC-21s will be delivered to the Academia General del Aire (AGA) in San Javier. An additional two PC-21s will also be delivered to the Centro Logístico de Armamento y Experimentación (CLAEX).

These two PC-21s will be used for experimental, flight test training and research and development activities. The aircraft will be based in Torrejón near Madrid.

The package also includes a PC-21 simulator, two cockpit procedure trainers, additional mission planning and debriefing systems as well as pilot training software.

Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, said on the occasion of the contract signing ceremony: “What could be better than a customer who buys again from to Pilatus! Spain is an extremely renowned, professional air force.”

“As such, Spain’s decision is a testimony to the capabilities of our training system. It is the most advanced, most efficient training system available on the market!”

André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added:

“Over the last few years, we have built an excellent relationship with the Spanish customer and are now very pleased to help them enhancing their training skills with this follow-on order of PC-21 aircraft and associated Ground Based Training Systems.”

“This proves once again that Pilatus is producing and delivering first class products to satisfy the high requirements of our customers.”

PC-21 – an efficient training platform

With ever growing pressure on air force funding, the completely newly developed PC-21 offers a highly efficient, intelligent platform for training jet pilots. To meet all expectations, the PC-21 has extremely high equipment and performance features.

They enable the single-engine turboprop to perform a range of missions previously reserved exclusively for jets. The PC-21 is far more cost-effective and fuel-efficient to operate than a jet trainer.

Experience with existing PC-21 customers shows that with the Pilatus Training System, the cost of training a future military pilot can be reduced by over 50 percent.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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