Pilatus has announced three orders in late 2016, for a total of 21 PC-21s, including 17 for the French Air Force and two each for the Royal Jordanian Air Force and QinetiQ, which operates the Empire Test Pilots' School in the UK. The Swiss firm says that the orders are worth over 300 million Swiss francs.
The French Air Force PC-21s will be used to train future military pilots who will transfer to the Alpha Jet prior to their conversion on to the Dassault Rafale. The contract signed on the 30th December 2016 is with Babcock Mission Critical Services France (BMCSF), with Pilatus as a sub-contractor, supplying the aircraft and other ground-based training material. France is the second European nation after Switzerland to opt for the PC-21. Six other air forces already operate the PC-21.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force, having placed an initial order for the PC-9 M in August 2015, re-evaluated their requirement in early 2016 due to previously unforeseen issues with their Lead in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) platform. The procurement decision was revised following a modification of the training concept, introducing the PC-21 all-through training model.
The contract amendment was initially for eight aircraft but with an option for additional units, if required. The option has now been exercised for two more PC-21s, with a total of ten PC-21s now providing the backbone of the nation's future pilot training regime. The first deliveries are scheduled for mid-2017.
The two PC-21s for the Empire Test Pilots' School will be used to train test pilots and flight test engineers for customers from the UK and elsewhere.