French Air Force announces new PC21-equipped demo team as likely preview of tomorrow's Patrouille de France

France Mustang demo team PC21
New Mustang X Ray demo team of the French Air Force.

A few hours ago the French Air Force announced the establishment of a new aerobatic team, called Mustang X Ray, consisting of two Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainer aircraft.

The team is based at BA 709 Cognac Chateaubernard and is made up of 3 instructor pilots (one as a coach). It has the task of showing to the public the work done at the flight school of the French Air Force through a program composed of several aerial figures, the same ones that the students perform during their training.

The Mustang X Ray could be a preview of what the Patrouille de France will be in a few years after the service has retired all Alpha Jets.

As we said in our previous article, France has made a counter-denting choice which consists in introducing a turboprop aircraft, usually used for the basic and intermediate pilot training phases, also for the advanced phase IV, where students usually fly trainer jets with performance similar to that of front-line fighters.

This will lead the French Air Force to run out of light jets after the withdrawal of the entire Alpha Jet fleet. The only option for the Patrouille de France will therefore be to start flying the PC-21.

Although the choice of the French Air Force is atypical, it could be a source of inspiration for those air forces that are struggling to raise funds to procure a modern LIFT jet and revolutionize the market for the segment.

Spain, for example, selected the Pilatus PC-21 in 2019 to cover the intermediate phase of training and is currently evaluating how to manage Phase IV once it has retired all C-101 Aviojet and F-5 Freedom Fighter aircraft.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Image: BA 709

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