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The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) will soon take delivery of the PC-21 expanded envelope trainer aircraft under contract from Pilatus Aircraft.

Carrying the registration numbers 905, 906 and 907, the first three aircraft departed the company’s facility in Stans, Switzerland, on 02 June, reported Flightglobal.

The second batch of 908, 909 and 910 numbered turboprop-powered type aircraft also left the site for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the following week.

Saudi Arabia ordered 55 PC-21 aircraft along with an integrated ground based training system and a comprehensive logistics support package from BAE Systems in May 2012.

The deal also covered the delivery of 22 BAE Hawk 165 advanced jet trainers, which are expected to be used by RSAF to train pilots to fly Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.

Selected after a comprehensive evaluation both in Stans, and under hot weather conditions in Riyadh, the PC-21 is expected to provide basic flying training to pilots, and replace RSAF’s existing PC-9 trainer fleet.

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By GlobalData
"The PC-21 is expected to provide basic flying training to pilots, and replace RSAF’s existing PC-9 trainer fleet."

Approximately 47 PC-9s were delivered by BAE as part of a package deal with Hawks to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s, according to Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.

Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68B turboprop engine, the PC-21 is a low-wing swept monoplane advanced trainer aircraft designed to fulfil the requirements for basic, advanced and fighter lead-in training for pilots and, if required, weapon systems officers (WSO).

The aircraft features a fully digital glass cockpit with head-up displays, an up-front control panel (UFPC), a hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) control, and full sized multi-function displays.

The aircraft has also been ordered by the air forces of Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland and the UAE.

Image: A Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainer aircraft at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK. Photo: courtesy of Arpingstone.

Defence Technology