An aerospace manufacturer has established a new defence-focused corporate entity to be based in Australia, as it looks to secure more work in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Pilatus Aircraft has created Pilatus Defence Solutions Australia (PilDEF), which will manage military contracts and operations in the Australasian region. Pilatus confirmed Rob Oliver will serve as chief executive of PilDEF and will be based in Sale, Victoria.
"I am pleased to be able to take Pilatus Defence operations forward in Australia to this next level," Oliver said. "We look forward to our proven team and superior performance assisting each of our partners in our combined aim of generating new aircrew for air power capability into the future."
PilDEF said the Sale location is close to its Australian Defence Force customers at the CASG ATACSPO (formerly TASPO) and the RAAF’s Air Training Wing. PilDEF will also be located at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia to support the Republic of Singapore Air Force and RAAF 2FTS operations.
Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk said the company's relationship with the ADF dates back over 50 years and the establishment of PilDEF will only add to this.
"The Pilatus relationship with the Australian Defence Force began with the delivery of the Pilatus Porter PC-6 in January 1968, 50 years ago next month," Schwenk said.
"This relationship has been a successful and positive partnering, and the formation of PilDEF will allow an even tighter bond with our respected partners in Australia."
In August last year, Defence welcomed the first six of the Pilatus PC-21 at RAAF Base East Sale, with the new aircraft set to replace the ageing PC-9/A training systems from early 2019. The PC-9/A fleet has been in service since 1987.
The PC-21 is equipped with a pressurised cockpit, air conditioning, an anti-g system and on-board oxygen generation.
Australia is set to acquire 49 PC-21s, along with simulators and training devices under AIR 5428.
The new fleet will go a long way in training undergraduate pilots before they progress to more advanced military aircraft, like the F-35 JSF.