Botswana has introduced its new fleet of five Pilatus PC-7 MkII turboprop trainers into operational service, and retired its earlier-model PC-7s from use.

Pilatus formally handed over the Botswana Defence Force's new aircraft in the African nation's capital, Gaborone on 8 February. The Swiss manufacturer says it completed deliveries under the deal four months early in late 2012, following a request from its customer.

 PC-7 MkIIs Botswana - Pilatus


With the MkII aircraft now available, Botswana's remaining six earlier PC-7s have been removed from use. The nation took delivery of an original seven of the type in 1990, according to Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

"After two decades of successful operation with more than 28,000h flown and more than 70,000 landings recorded, the ageing PC-7 aircraft reached the end of their operating life," Pilatus says. "The new aircraft will be operated and maintained by Botswana Defence Force personnel, supported by Pilatus Switzerland," it adds.

 Botswana PC-7 pilots - Pilatus


The new aircraft were formally inducted in Gaborone on 8 February 

Announced in April 2011, Botswana's acquisition of the MkII aircraft and associated equipment and services values around Swfr40 million ($44 million). The new-generation model will be used to prepare student pilots to fly types including the nation's fleet of 10 Northrop F-5 fighters.

Source: Flight International