The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has formally inducted five Pilatus PC-7 MkII turboprop basic trainer aircraft into operational service, during a ceremony in Gaborone, Botswana.
The aircraft were handed over by the company in late 2012, four months ahead of the original schedule, upon request from the BDF.
Forming part of the Sfr40m ($43.5m) contract secured by the company in April 2011, the delivery includes the supply of five aircraft, along with ground based training systems, such as computer based training, spares and support equipment, as well as pilot and technician conversion training elements. Originally ordered to replace the service’s ageing PC-7 fleet, the new aircraft is now scheduled to be used for cadet training programmes from this year.
The seven aircraft fleet, which was received by the Botswana Defence Force Air Wing in 1990, had already been phased out.
Also named Astra, the PC-7 MkII is a hybrid aircraft featuring PC-9M’s airframe and avionics and PC-7 aircraft’s wing to mount external stores, designed to support basic flying training.
Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine, the PC-7 MkII features a dual-glass cockpit and is equipped with a 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 aircraft was originally developed to address the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) requirements in 1994, and has also been ordered by the air forces of Brunei and India.
Image: Botswana Defence Force’s PC-7 MkII turboprop aircraft in flight. Photo courtesy of Copyright © Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.