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.”
PC-21 & Simulators
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.”
PC-21 – the most efficient training system
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.