France plans to introduce additional PC-21 aircraft for advanced pilot training

France PC21 advanced training
France Air Force PC-21 trainer aircraft.

The French Air Force appears to be introducing additional Pilatus PC-21 turboprop training aircraft to cover advanced fighter pilot training (Phase IV) at Cazaux Air Base.

France selected the "Swiss made" aircraft in early 2017 to replace part of the fleet of older Alpha Jet trainers. The initial agreement included a total of 17 PC-21s to be used for intermediate pilot training (Phase III) at the Cognac Air Base.

Currently students who complete training in PC-21 move to the Alpha Jet advanced trainer jet for Phase IV before being assigned to the Mirage 2000 or the Rafale.

In a somewhat surprising choice, the French Air Force has decided to introduce 13 more PC-21 aircraft to begin replacing the Alpha Jet in Phase IV. It goes against the trend as modern air forces increasingly aim to complete training in high-performance jets, similar to front-line fighters, in order to reduce the performance gap between the two types. This allows them to offload flight hours to expensive 20-ton aircraft, such as the Rafale.

However, the French Air Force has previously said that it considers the PC-21 to be the most powerful, economical and flexible integrated training system than any other jet or turboprop trainer on the market. The service probably intends to build a single-type trainer fleet (PC-21 only) as it has already planned to do with the fighter fleet (Rafale only).

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Franch Air Force

No comments

All comments related to the contents of our articles are welcome. It is not allowed to post promotional messages, links to external sites, or references to activities not related to this blog.

Powered by Blogger.