Student pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have begun basic flight training on the Pilatus PC-21 advanced turboprop. Twelve aircraft have now been airfreighted to the RSAF’s Flying Training School at Pearce airbase in Australia and re-assembled. The remaining seven are due for delivery next month. They are replacing Alenia Aermacchi S-211 jet trainers that are now nearly 25 years old. Pilatus supplied the aircraft as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, which won a contract to provide the RSAF basic wings training package in a public-private partnership.
Meanwhile, Alenia Aermacchi is still in the running to provide the RSAF with a new advanced jet trainer, namely the M-346. Final proposals are due in October, and the Italians are trying to sign up Boeing and Singapore Technologies Engineering as partners. Alenia has already nominated Boeing as a partner in Saudi Arabia, and may also do so for the UAE. Both these Middle East countries are also considering the KAI/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle. But only Singapore has made clear its intention that its new advanced jet trainer should be delivered as part of a service package, perhaps similar to the PPP deal for the basic trainer.