The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has introduced a new colour scheme for the Pilatus PC-21 trainer aircraft of its formation aerobatic display team, the Roulettes.

The airforce is said to have chosen a distinct colour scheme to differentiate them from those used by No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce.

Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “While pursuing a 21st century look, the new colour scheme retains the traditional colours of the airforce and the Australian National Flag, the Roulettes ‘R’ logo and incorporates the Southern Cross.”

The Pilatus PC-21 pilot training aircraft is set to replace RAAF’s existing PC-9/A and CT-4B aircraft under the AIR 5428 project.

“The project spans all phases of pilot training, from basic flying training at RAAF Base East Sale through to advanced flying training at No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce.”

As part of the project, a team comprising Lockheed Martin, Pilatus Aircraft, and Hawker Pacific will train all future pilots for the RAAF, Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.

Pyne added: “The project spans all phases of pilot training for the three services, from basic flying training at RAAF Base East Sale through to advanced flying training at No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce.

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“The update to the pilot training system will deliver significant efficiencies and is key to a 5th generation airforce.”

He further noted that the new pilot training system is designed to equip undergraduate pilots with the necessary skills before they move onto advanced military aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter and MH-60R Seahawk.

Australia has placed an order for 49 PC-21 aircraft and seven flight training device simulators.

So far, the Commonwealth has received 22 aircraft. Six simulators have been either delivered or are undergoing installation, including four at RAAF East Sale in Victoria and two at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia.