A Pilatus PC-21 trainer demonstrator lands in England. (via Wikipedia)
SYDNEY — A second team has revealed its intentions to bid for the Australian Defence Force’s fixed-wing Pilot Training System contest, along with the Oct. 3 announcement that Lockheed Martin and Pilatus will join forces to exclusively offer the PC-21 platform.
The Lockheed-Pilatus team, known as ‘Team 21,’ will also be supported in Australia by Hawker Pacific.
“It became very clear after a thorough review of potential partners that the existing alignment of Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific would deliver the best overall customer outcome, not only for the Australian Defence Force, but also for ongoing operational budgets and taxpayers, to deliver the best value for money,” said Pilatus chief executive Markus Bucher.
BAE Systems, CAE and Beechcraft announced in September its intention to enter the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II for the competition.Other defense companies are expected to announce their intentions in the near future.
The deal signed between Lockheed Martin and the Swiss manufacturer is an exclusive agreement regarding the PC-21, meaning no other competitor can select the platform.
Team 21 is currently in its seventh year of a 20-year performance-based contract with the Republic of Singapore Air Force to provide a basic wings course based on the PC-21 platform, which is also conducted in Australia.
Chris Huet, Lockheed Martin’s business development manager Asia-Pacific, said the Team 21 bid for the Australian competition, known as Project Air 5428, would build on its experience with the provision of flight training for Singapore.
“Team 21 is very much a reflection of the Singapore Basic Wings Course and we are using the experience to develop a Pilot Training System to meet the Australian Defence Force’s unique requirements,” he said .
Speaking at the Pacific 2013 exhibition in Sydney this week, Huet also said a thorough analysis of available training aircraft had reaffirmed the PC-21 as the most suitable and lowest risk solution.
“Risk is a key element,” he said.
A Request for Tender for AIR 5428 was released to industry Aug.t 2 and will close in February.