The French Air Force has ordered nine Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft to add to the 17 planes it purchased in 2017.
The PC-21s will be deployed to train future military pilots who will subsequently step up to the nation’s multi-role lead-fighter. The PC-21s will replace the twin-engine jet trainers which were previously used for pilot training, a Pilatus press release said.
The French procurement authority, the Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) , signed the agreement with F-AIR 21 (Cognac Formation Aero SAS France), with Pilatus acting as the exclusive subcontractor for the supply of the nine PC-21s and other groundbased training systems and spare parts.
The PC-21s will be stationed at the Cognac-Châteaubernard air base from 2023, where PC-21s have been in use since 2018. The first pilots concluded their training in 2020. With the latest order, the PC-21 fleet will increase to a total of 26. Besides Switzerland and Spain, France is the third European nation to adopt the PC-21, the world’s most advanced training system.