Pilatus Aircraft has shipped another PC-21 expanded envelope trainer aircraft off its final assembly line for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
The aircraft represents the 100th turboprop trainer PC-21 to be rolled off the company’s final assembly line in Switzerland, and an overall 1000th aircraft to have been manufactured to date by Pilatus.
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 Hawk 165 advanced jet trainers, which are expected to be used by the RSAF to train pilots to fly Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.
The PC-21 is expected to provide basic flying training to pilots. It will also replace RSAF’s existing PC-9 trainer fleet, which comprises 47 aircraft that were delivered by BAE as part of a package deal with Hawks to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s, as reported earlier by Flightglobal.
According to the publication, the RSAF took delivery of the initial six aircraft in June 2014.
Pilatus noted that the remaining aircraft are currently in production, while the instructors, who have been through type conversion at Pilatus, are preparing for their first student courses.
The PC-21 is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68B turboprop engine. It 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.
The aircraft features a fully digital glass cockpit with head-up displays, an up-front control panel, a hands-on throttle and stick control, and full-sized multi-function displays. It is currently operated by the air forces of Singapore, Switzerland and the UAE, and has also been ordered by Qatar.
Image: The 100th PC-21 turboprop trainer sporting the Royal Saudi Air Force’s paint scheme. Photo: courtesy of Copyright Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.