Dubai 09: UAE signs deal for 25 PC-21 trainers

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Pilatus has won a contract worth over SFr500 million ($491 million) to provide the United Arab Emirates with a new pilot training system based on its PC-21 turboprop.

Confirmed during the Dubai air show, the deal will cover the delivery of 25 PC-21s from 2011, plus related ground-based training equipment and logistics support.

Pilatus says its selection followed "an extremely tough and thorough evaluation by the UAE", which had also considered types including the Alenia Aermacchi M-311 and Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano. The latter was eliminated from contention two years ago.

 
© Katsuhiko Tokunaga/Pilatus
The UAE has become the third customer for the PC-21 turboprop

The Swiss manufacturer had emerged as the front-runner earlier this year to secure the deal, and Alenia Aermacchi's choice to not exhibit its M-311 jet at the show appeared to have confirmed the decision before an announcement. Alenia Aermacchi is already negotiating the sale of 48 of its M-346 Master advanced jet trainers to the UAE.

Success in the UAE competition has doubled Pilatus's orders total for the PC-21. It has already completed deliveries of 19 aircraft to the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and of an initial batch of six to the Swiss air force. The sale also represents repeat business for the company, as the UAE currently operates a legacy fleet of 31 PC-7 intermediate trainers.

 
© Goose/flightglobal.com/AirSpace
Pilatus displayed the PC-21 during the Dubai air show

Pilatus describes its new contract as "a major success in the Middle East - we believe it will encourage other forces in the region and beyond to take a close look at our pilot training solution".

Read Peter Collins' flight test evaluation of the PC-21