The Spanish Air Force, Ejército del Aire, decided to purchase 24 PC-21s in early 2020. The final PC-21 of this order was delivered to Spain in mid-2022. The Spanish Air Force has now decided to buy another 16 PC-21s. The contract signed with the Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM) makes Spain the largest PC-21 operator in Europe.
Spain is convinced by the PC-21: since summer 2022, its future military pilots have trained with the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus. After a very professional negotiation phase, the Spanish Air Force has now ordered another 16 PC-21s to reinforce pilot training with additional Pilatus trainer aircraft. The training bandwidth of the PC-21 will also be enlarged: in future, the PC-21 will also be used for elementary training in addition to basic training.
Lieutenant Colonel Ildefonso Martínez-Pardo González, Academia General del Aire (AGA) Air Operations Group Commander, commented as follows: “Now in use with the Spanish Air and Space Force for over 18 months, the PC-21 integrated training system far exceeds our expectations. Its reliable and efficient powerplant, aerodynamics, safety systems and avionics make the PC-21 a highly versatile trainer, capable of performing any phase of flight training from the most elementary to the most advanced.”
“Our relationship with Pilatus has been outstanding throughout, and a key factor for successful implementation. The excellent collaboration, professionalism and teamwork of everyone involved over the past three years have enabled us to roll out this PC-21 training course in record time without interruption to training,” he added.
14 PC-21s will be delivered to the Academia General del Aire (AGA) in San Javier. An additional two PC-21s will also be delivered to the Centro Logístico de Armamento y Experimentación (CLAEX). These two PC-21s will be used for experimental, flight test training and research and development activities. The aircraft will be based in Torrejón near Madrid. The package also includes a PC-21 simulator, two cockpit procedure trainers, additional mission planning and debriefing systems as well as pilot training software.
Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, said on the occasion of the contract signing ceremony: “What could be better than a customer who buys again from to Pilatus! Spain is an extremely renowned, professional air force. As such, Spain’s decision is a testimony to the capabilities of our training system. It is the most advanced, most efficient training system available on the market!”
André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added: “Over the last few years, we have built an excellent relationship with the Spanish customer and are now very pleased to help them enhancing their training skills with this follow-on order of PC-21 aircraft and associated Ground Based Training Systems. This proves once again that Pilatus is producing and delivering first class products to satisfy the high requirements of our customers.”
With ever growing pressure on air force funding, the completely newly developed PC-21 offers a highly efficient, intelligent platform for training jet pilots. To meet all expectations, the PC-21 has extremely high equipment and performance features. They enable the single-engine turboprop to perform a range of missions previously reserved exclusively for jets. The PC-21 is far more cost-effective and fuel-efficient to operate than a jet trainer. Experience with existing PC-21 customers shows that with the Pilatus Training System, the cost of training a future military pilot can be reduced by over 50 percent. (Photo: PC-21 Spanish Air Force Maiden Flight © Pilatus Aircraft Ltd)