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Enhancing Bilateral Relations: Spain and Switzerland Foster Trade through PC-21 Procurement

The export connections between Switzerland and Spain are strengthened as the Spanish Air Force purchases familiar aircraft, namely the Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft.

The Spanish Air Force intends to acquire an additional 16 PC-21s in its third round of procurement from Pilatus. This comes after previous orders made in 2020 and 2022. These Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft will be deployed to various locations in Spain to train their fighter pilots.

A total of 14 PC-21s will be delivered to the Academia General del Aire (AGA) in San Javier. The package also includes a PC-21 simulator, two cockpit procedure trainers, additional mission planning and debriefing systems, and pilot training software.

Furthermore, two more PC-21s will be supplied to the Centro Logistico de Armamento y Experimentacion (CLAEX) for experimental activities, training, and research and development purposes.

The Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft has been specifically designed and developed for student pilots, providing a cost-effective and highly efficient training solution for air forces.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence procured the second batch of 16 PC-21 trainers from Pilatus Aircraft for a total cost of €240 million euros. The training of future fighter pilots commenced in the summer of 2022.

With this contract, Spain becomes the largest operator of PC-21 aircraft in Europe. According to a report by GlobalData, Switzerland accounts for 11.4% of Spain’s defense imports, despite the inability to re-export Swiss military hardware.

The GlobalData report “Swiss Defense Market Data 2022-2027” reveals that several countries, including France, Spain, Ireland, Thailand, Jordan, and Australia, have procured multiple units of the Pilatus PC-21 in recent years.

Lieutenant Colonel Ildefonso Martínez-Pardo González, commander of the AGA air operations group, expressed his satisfaction, stating, “After more than 18 months of use by the Spanish Air and Space Force, the PC-21 integrated training system has exceeded our expectations. Its reliable and efficient powerplant, aerodynamics, safety systems, and avionics make the PC-21 an incredibly versatile trainer capable of accommodating all phases of flight training, from the most basic to the most advanced.”

In 2018, the Cognac Chateaubernard Air Base of the French Air Force received two Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft.

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