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Giving a much needed boost to training program for the budding pilots the Indian Air Force has finally and formally inducted new basic trainer Pilatus, PC 7 Mk II into the service. Three PC-7 MK II aircraft got airborne in a victor formation led by Group Captain RS Nandedkar to put up a brief display for the audience, at IAF academy Dundigal in Hyderabad. This marked the first formal flight of the Basic Trainer Aircraft over the skies at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad.

With unveiling of Basic Training Aircraft (BTA), has entered into new era of pilot’s training. Imparting high quality flying training to our budding pilots will ensure proficient handling of more sophisticated aircraft in their demanding roles. PC-7 MK-II and its associated training infrastructure comprising of simulators and training modules promises higher safety standards while developing the critical skills in military aviation. The aircraft, with its excellent handling characteristics, user friendly onboard instrumentation and modern navigation systems, is ideally suited for IAF’s training requirements.

Noting the induction of PC7 MK II as IAF’s Basic Trainer Aircraft to be a proud moment, the Air Chief said, “This event is a significant milestone in IAF’s transformation into a modern multi-spectrum strategic force. It is my responsibility to ensure that our pilots and technicians operate the best trainer in the world, the nation can afford. Pilatus will prove to be the ideal platform that will train the ab-initio trainees about the nuances of basic flying and expose them to modern avionics. This trainer 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.

 

The PC-7 MK II aircraft would be used for Basic Training of all pilots of the Indian Air Force, in addition to the pilots of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. Till now this role was performed by the reliable but ageing workhorse, the HJT-16 Kiran aircraft. Ready to receive the new Basic Trainer that will bring in a much awaited augmentation of IAF’s training capacity, a comprehensive infrastructure upgrade is already underway at the Air Force Academy.

 

A total of 75 aircraft have been contracted from Pilatus, Switzerland. The procurement of PC 7 MkII was approved by the government in May 2012 and the first batch of PC-7 Mk II arrived at the Academy in February this year as a part of accelerated induction plan. The first batch of Flight Cadets would start their training on PC-7 MK II from July onwards. Since the phasing out of HPT-32 in Dec09, basic training in the IAF had been adversely affected. The urgent requirement of a capable Basic Trainer was recognised by the government and procurement of Pilatus PC-7 MK II was approved in May 2012. This trainer will provide a solid foundation to our ab-initio trainees as they understand the nuances of basic flying and go on to facilitate a seamless transition, into full fledged operational flying for all streams.

 

“The future air battles will be extremely fast paced and highly intense. While operating their aircraft within the entire operational envelope, our pilots will have to fully exploit on board systems in order to gain a decisive advantage over the adversary. Multiple airborne and ground based threats will have to be engaged and complex tasks will have to be executed simultaneously. The extreme demands of modern combat aviation therefore, warrant that our young aviators have a good foundation in terms of flying training exposure.” ACM Browne noted.

 

PC-7 boast of exceptional safety features which would ensure that, while young cadets learn the complex skills of military aviation, the safety of the aircraft as well as the aircrew is ensured. In addition, having an extremely good endurance in excess of four hours as well as the availability of a good margin of error, which is essential in training flying, makes it an ideal platform for the task.

 

Till date 10 aircraft are already arrived with two more being ferried to India. The cadets ot the new course commencing July next shall start training on these new blue birds. 

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