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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 12:35
 photo Livefist

photo Livefist

07/06/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


The Indian Air Force's first 12 Pilatus PC-7 MkII basic trainers were formally accepted into service during a recent ceremony at Dundigal Air Force Base.


Present was Jitendra Singh - the Indian Minister of State for Defense - who described the turboprop training aircraft's arrival on the scene as "a very important landmark in our nation's quest for modernising its armed forces." He added: "The need to train pilots on modern trainers is crucial to prepare them for the requirements of combat flying."


Introduced in 1978, the Pilatus PC-7 is a major success story among ab initio training aircraft. Over 30 air arms have pressed the PC-7 into service and the Indian Air Force's selection of the upgraded Mk11 version followed a rigorous evaluation process.


Alongside the aircraft themselves, the Indian Air Force will also receive an associated ground-based training system and in-depth logistics support.


PC-7 MkII Trainer


The Pilatus PC-7 MkII trainer made its debut in 1994 and, according to its manufacturer, no other turboprop training aircraft can match its engine operating costs.


In company documentation, Pilatus writes that the PC-7 MkII has a maximum rate of climb of 2,910 feet a minute, a top speed of 556 kilometres per hour and a maximum range of 1,500 kilometres. A 700 shaft horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25C engine drives a four-bladed Hartzell four-bladed propeller, while its cockpit features include ejection seats and anti-G systems.


Also included are six under-wing weapons hardpoints, giving the aircraft the ability to take on an armed role, if necessary.


Indian Air Force PC-7s


Ultimately, the Indian Air Force will get 75 Pilatus PC-7 MkII trainers. They'll be used not only to train future Indian Air Force fast jet pilots but also Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy trainees.


"Pilatus will prove to be the ideal platform that will train ab-initio trainees about nuances of basic flying and expose them to modern avionics and navigation aid", Air Chief Marshal N A K Brown stated at the PC-7 MkII's inauguration event. "It will provide a solid foundation and facilitate a seamless transition from ab-initio stage through intermediate and advanced stages into full-fledged operational flying for all streams.


He continued: "These aircraft will remain with us for the next 30 to 40 years. We signed a contract in May last year and we already have 12 aircraft. By the time we start the first course in July, we will have 14 aircraft. And by this year end, we will have 30 aircraft in the academy. All the 75 aircraft will be with us by the end of August, 2015."

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