Pilatus will incorporate several design changes into the cockpit of its PC-21 trainer to meet the requirements of the Singapore air force. Modifications will include changes to its hands-on-throttle-and-stick configuration, plus software-based alterations to its flight displays and symbology. The Swiss company will also adapt its embedded training system for the aircraft.

First deliveries to support Singapore's Basic Wings Course will be in the first quarter of 2008, with all 19 aircraft handed over before that year-end, Pilatus says. Production will start immediately at its Stans site near Lucerne.

Meanwhile, the Swiss parliament is expected to approve the country's 2006 defence budget by this year-end, including a SFr115 million ($92 million) allocation to equip the Swiss air force with six PC-21s from late 2007 to replace its Northrop F-5Fs. Swiss training activities on the type are to begin early in 2008, some months before the June start of Singaporean operations.

Pilatus's PC-21 fleet has now amassed over 1,400 flight hours, and the design is on offer to meet requirements in nations including Australia and the UK. The company says 20 aircraft could be manufactured each year using its existing production facilities.

Source: Flight International