Pilatus Aircraft has been awarded a SFr500m ($523m) contract for the delivery of 75 PC-7 MkII turboprop basic trainer aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), to help train its rookie pilots.
The contract also includes the supply of an integrated ground-based training system and a comprehensive logistics support package to the air force.
The contract award follows approval by the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which noted that the IAF had only 255 trainers, including basic, intermediate and advanced versions, despite 434 aircraft being inducted into operational service.
As part of the deal, Pilatus will also implement the required transfer of technology (ToT) to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), enabling establishment of in-country depot-level maintenance facilities to support the aircraft throughout its
30-year service life.
The aircraft are scheduled to replace the IAF's fleet of Deepak HPT-32 trainer aircraft. The Deepak fleet has been grounded since 2009, due to a series of accidents that claimed 19 lives.
Developed from the piston-powered Pilatus P-3 aircraft, the Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, capable of supporting all basic training functions including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying operations.
Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine, the PC-7 MkII features a dual-glass cockpit and is equipped with primary flight display, secondary flight display, an engine and secondary instruments display panel and an audio radio management system.
Additional features include very-high-frequency communication (VHF COM) 1, VHF COM 2, ultra-high-frequency communication UHF COM, VHF NAV 1, VHF NAV 2, distance measuring equipment (DME) and automatic direction finders (ADF).
The contract also includes an option for further extending the contract's scope within three years from initial signature. Deliveries are due to start start in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Image: PC-7 MkII turboprop basic trainer aircraft to help IAF bridge its training capability gap. Photo: courtesy of Pilatus Aircraft.