The French Air Force has begun training pilots on its new fleet of Pilatus PC-21 advanced turboprop trainers.

Trainees carried out their first training sorties on June 4. 

France has taken delivery of 17 PC-21s as part of a new curriculum to support and shave time off the training regime for pilots destined to fly Dassault Rafale replacing Aerospatiale Epsilons and Dassault Alpha Jets. The aircraft are being provided through the Fomedec availability contract with Babcock Mission Critical Services, the 11-year program covering the supply PC-21 training aircraft, two simulators and modernized training facilities at the Cognac-Châteaubernard Air Base in southwest France. One of the aircraft is on display here at the Paris Air Force in the Ministry of the Army pavilion.

The aircraft are expected to fly around 11,500 hr. per year.