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bidding alone, or teaming with other companies.
“We are talking to anyone that wants to talk to
us” says Rob Oliver, Pilatus Australia’s Director,
Defence “Because we want to make sure we have
the best training model and strategy on our side,
but we may prefer to be the prime as it reduces
overheads, provides better value for Defence and
gives them direct reach-back to the OEM of the
entire training system”.
The PC-21 is currently in service with the Swiss
Air Force as the platform in the Jet Pilot Training
System (JEPAS), run by Pilatus, which sees young
graduates progressing directly to the F/A-18C
Hornet. “The Swiss Air Force has achieved its
main goal in purchasing the PC-21s, which is to
train future military pilots to a higher standard
in a shorter timeframe with the help of a high-
performance, cost-effective training system
designed to allow a direct transfer to the F/A-18
fighter jet” says Pilatus CEO Oscar Schwenk.
The PC-21 system has recently been selected by
the United Arab Emirates, where Pilatus will be
teaming with local industry to supply a complete
Rob Oliver says that the Pilatus plan is to base
all training around the PC-21 rather than acquire
a separate platform for the initial phases of
training, but this would depend on the RFT. “We
believe we’re the only aircraft system which has
the performance to provide the relatively benign
performance required for ab-initio training,
right through to the lead-in point of Lead-In
Fighter Training” he says.
Pilatus has also teamed with Lockheed Martin
and Hawker Pacific as the platform supplier
for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Basic
Wings Course, which provides training for pilot
candidates at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia.
The 20-year Basic Wings Course contract also
uses the PC-21 airframe, which were assembled
in Switzerland, but using Hawker Pacific
personnel. “We are extremely pleased with
the capabilities and quality of our established
SMEs, and we are keen to use them and other
Australian industry capability for AIR 5428 also”
says Rob Oliver, “As we want to create permanent
jobs in Australia”.
Lockheed Martin, through its Simulation
Training and Support (LMSTS) division also runs
the United Kingdom Military Flight Training
System (UKMFTS) in partnership with the UK’s
VT Group, and will also oversee the International
F-35 training programme.
The company would not comment on its
plans for AIR 5428 and declined a request for
an interview with their programme manager.
However a spokesperson told APDR that, “There
is a way to go on AIR 5428 requirements definition,
so we are continuing to refine our potential
offerings as more specific customer information
“ We are talking to anyone that wants to talk to us”
says Rob Oliver, Pilatus Australia’s Director, Defence
The Roulettes flying PC-9s
Credit: CoA / Rob Mitchell
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