Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester have announced a new colour scheme for the RAAF’s aerobatic display team, the Roulettes, and their new Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft.
Australia is acquiring 49 PC-21 aircraft and seven simulators, known as Flight Training Devices. To date, 22 PC-21 aircraft have been delivered to the Commonwealth and six simulators are either in use or undergoing installation, four at RAAF East Sale in Victoria and two at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia.
Minister Pyne said the Pilatus PC-21 was the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft and would replace RAAF’s current PC-9/A and CT-4B aircraft as part of the AIR 5428 project.
"The project spans all phases of pilot training for the three services, from basic flying training at RAAF Base East Sale through to advanced flying training at No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce," Minister Pyne said.
Although the PC-21 is a key element of the AIR 5428 project, it is only one part of the story. The new Pilot Training System will be able to train more people faster and to a higher standard, with an:
- Advanced aircraft;
- State of the art simulation; and
- An electronic learning environment.
Minister Pyne said, "The new Pilot Training System will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary knowledge and skills prior to progressing onto advanced military aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter and MH-60R Seahawk."
Minister Chester said, "The impressive skills demonstrated by our Roulette pilots have been witnessed by many at international events and in small country airshows and have inspired a generation of Air Force pilots since their first public display in 1970."
The PC-21 is capable of sustained low-level speeds over 320 knots, and hydraulically assisted ailerons and roll spoilers can produce fighter-like rates of roll in excess of 200 degrees per second.
The capabilities of the PC-21 make it ideally suited to a very wide training scope. It can be used from day one in the training system, eliminating the need for an elementary flying training fleet, but also bridges the performance gap between traditional turboprop trainers and lead-in fighters.