Qatar buys Pilatus PC-21 trainers

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The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has awarded a contract to Pilatus for the procurement of a complete PC-21 Training System, consisting of a fleet of 24 PC-21 trainer aircraft, a suite of Ground Based Training System assets and an extensive logistics support and maintenance package.

The QEAF selected the PC-21 as their fixed wing basic and advanced training aircraft, after a thorough evaluation both in Switzerland and in Qatar. The PC-21 was deemed to be the best aircraft and Training System of all options available on the market, Pilatus said in a statement.

The PC-21 will support the training of aviators in the newly established Air Force Academy in Qatar. The QEAF Air Academy will receive their first aircraft in the middle of 2014 and training will start mid-2015.

Operations will be directly supported by Pilatus under a long-term performance based support contract.
“With the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Pilatus has added yet another new customer to the fold and we are delighted to welcome them to the growing ranks of world class Air Forces operating our platforms. We are also honoured by the trust placed in us to support the QEAF in their ambitious venture through this contract award,” the company said.

In May the Royal Saudi Air Force ordered 55 PC-21 trainers, as well as 22 Hawk jet trainers from BAE Systems as part of its next-generation military pilot training scheme.

Following agreement between the Governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, under the Saudi British Defence Cooperation Programme (SBDCP), deliveries of PC-21s, ground based training systems and the logistics support package are scheduled to commence in 2014. The aircraft will provide basic flying training in Riyadh to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and will replace the PC-9. The RSAF currently flies 47 PC-9s.

After Switzerland, Singapore and the UAE, Saudi Arabia was the fourth country to procure the PC-21 aircraft.