Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer, Switzerland
The two-seat light trainer aircraft Pilatus PC-7 turbo was built by Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland. The PC-7 can perform various functions including aerobatics and tactical and night flying.
The PC-7 can accommodate a crew of two members (a student and trainer) and has six underwing hardpoints.
The PC-7 was selected by 20 air forces to train military pilots. The aircraft is fully operational in civil and military pilot training bases across the world.
The PC-7 is equipped with a single Pratt and Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine.
The first series of PC-7 aircraft was delivered to Myanmar Air Force in 1979. The aircraft received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) certifications to support European and US regulations.
PC-7 training aircraft orders and deliveries
Over 500 PC-7 and PC-7 MkII aircraft have been sold to 21 countries. Mexico procured 88 PC-7s, deliveries of which began in 1980. About 52 PC-7s were bought by Iraq and deliveries began in 1980. The Iraqi PC-7 fleet was completely eliminated during the US invasion in 2003. Malaysia acquired 44 PC-7s, deliveries of which began in 1983.
Other Pilatus PC-7 customers include the Swiss Air Force (40), Angola (27), Austria (16), Bolivia (24), Bophuthatswana (three), Botswana (seven), Chile (ten), France (five), Guatemala (12), Iran (35), Myanmar (19), Netherlands (13), UAE / Abu Dhabi (31) and Uruguay (six).
Deliveries to Angola began in 1982 and those to the Swiss Air Force began in 1986. Deliveries to Austria, Bolivia, Bophuthatswana, Botswana, Chile, France, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Netherlands, UAE / Abu Dhabi and Uruguay began in 1984, 1979, 1989, 1990, 1980, 1991, 1980, 1983, 1979, 1989, 1982 and 1992 respectively.]
In May 2012, the Indian Air Force placed a $523m contract with Pilatus Aircraft for 75 PC-7 MkII aircraft. Deliveries are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The PC-7 was derived from the Pilatus P-3 training aircraft, which was launched in the early 1950s.
The modified P-3 prototype first flew on 12 April 1966. The PC-7 development programme was, however, held back when the prototype crashed due to forced landing.
In 1973 the programme resumed using a modified engine and the new aircraft was named PC-7. The PC-7 prototype completed its maiden flight on 12 May 1975. The PC-7 aircraft also features a new one-piece wing with integral fuel tanks, an altered tailfin and a bubble canopy. The first produced PC-7 made its maiden flight on 19 August 1978.
Variants of PC-7
The PC-7 has two variants: PC-7 MkII and NCPC-7. The PC-7 MkII variant is also known as the Astra. South Africa's requirement for an advanced version of the PC-7 aircraft led to the development of the PC-7MkII.
The variant was derived from the PC-9 M aircraft, the M denoting the aircraft's modular features. The PC-9 M aircraft is powered by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-62 turboprop engine that provides 863kW of output power.
The variant is equipped with advanced avionics and on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS). The PC-7 MkII aircraft comprises only two underwing hardpoints, unlike the PC-7's six underwing hard points.
The first PC-7 MkII aircraft took its maiden flight in August 1994. The first delivery of the variant was made to the SAAF in November 1994. About 60 PC-7 MkII aircraft were delivered to SAAF by 1996.
The South African Air Force (SAAF)'s 35 Pilatus Astra PC-7MkII aircraft were upgraded with advanced glass cockpit components by removing the disused avionics systems, under a contract signed with Pilatus Aircraft in 2009. The contract also included incorporating two new flight training devices, ground based training systems and spares.
Upgrades of the first aircraft were carried out at the Pilatus facility in Switzerland during 2009. The maiden flight of the first upgraded or modified PC-7MkII aircraft took place on 23 September 2009. Aerosud with assistance from Pilatus field service engineers undertook the modernisation of the remaining PC-7MkII fleet at Langebaanweg Air Force Base in South Africa.
In December 2010, Malaysia unveiled its plan to procure 12 additional PC-7MKII trainers in two batches by selling its older aircraft to the Philippines. It is currently operating 17 of 19 PC-7MKII aircraft as two were lost in accidents.
Pilatus Aircraft was awarded a Sfr40m contract by Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in April 2011 to supply five PC-7MKII trainers for replacing the PC-7 fleet, which has been in service since 1990. The contract also covers rendering a ground base training system, spare parts and support equipment..
The NCPC-7 was developed by upgrading the standard PC-7. New features included a glass cockpit, GPS, autopilot and a second VHF radio. The NCPC-7 was developed for the Swiss Air Force for training pilots. About 18 PC-7 aircraft were upgraded to NCPC-7 and a contract for upgrading ten more was signed in February 2008.
Cockpit and avionics
The PC-7 MkII features a dual glass cockpit. It is equipped with primary flight display (PFD), secondary flight display (SFD), an engine and secondary instruments display panel (ESDP), an audio radio management system (ARMS), 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).
A mode S transponder, global positioning system (GPS), radar altimeter, attitude heading reference system (AHRS), emergency locator beacon (ELT) and air data computer avionics are also installed in the PC-7 MkII cockpit.
The PC-7 can climb at a rate of 865m per minute. The aircraft has a cruise speed of 415km/h and can fly at 460km/h. The range and service ceiling of the aircraft are 1,950km and 9,150m, respectively.
The maximum take-off weight is 2,700kg. The take-off and landing distances are 590m and 625m, respectively, while the maximum g-load capacity is -3 / +6.
The Pilatus PC-7 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine and a three-blade Hartzell HC-B3TN-2 propeller. It can generate 485kW of output power.
The PT6A-25A is a two-shaft engine with a multi-stage compressor driven by a single-stage compressor turbine. It has another independent shaft coupling the power turbine and propeller through an epicyclic concentric reduction gearbox.
The PC-7 MkII is powered by a single 522.2kW Pratt and Whitney PT6A-25C turboprop engine, which offers a lower engine operating cost than the PC-7's engine.
The main difference between the engines used in the PC-7 and the MkII variant is the output capacities. The NCPC-7 has a single Pratt and Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine, similar to the engine used in the standard PC-7 aircraft.
The Global Military Aircraft Market 2011-2021
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