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I/ITSEC 2019: Spanish Air Force opts for PC-21

2nd December 2019 - 15:00 GMT | by Trevor Nash in Orlando


Spain is set to acquire 24 Pilatus PC-21 turboprop training aircraft to replace its ageing Casa Aviojet C-101 jet trainers.

Pilatus’ PC-21 was chosen in preference to the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II and the Embraer Super Tucano.

The decision was announced on 26 November on the government’s procurement platform, Plataforma de Contratacion del Sector Publico (PCSP), in advance of any formal announcement by the Spanish government or the air force.

According to the announcement, Pilatus will supply 24 PC-21s, and its Integrated Training System (ITS), at a cost of €204.75 million, this is nearly 10% less than the €225 million budget that had been earmarked for the acquisition.

ABOVE: Annual spending on new military trainer aircraft 2019-2029. Data taken from Defence Insight.

The acquisition continues a trend of replacing ageing trainer aircraft with new high performance turboprops. The global annual spend on military trainer aircraft is expected to be over $3.5 billion a year over the next five years according to Defence Insight.

In addition to the aircraft being purchased by Spain, the ITS will include an emergency ejection trainer, two cockpit simulators and two network-connected flight simulators, as well as an initial logistics package.

The schedule for deliveries is expected to be tight, as currently the Spanish air force is looking to start retiring the first C-101s from September 2021. As a result, the PC-21 will need to be ready to begin basic training in the 2021-22 academic year. The first six PC-21s and one simulator are expected to be delivered by March 2020.

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