The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will deploy aircraft and personnel to New Zealand for Exercise RAVEN KAHU which will occur from 8 to 19 August 2022. Exercise RAVEN KAHU is a combined training exercise involving RAAF and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircraft and personnel. This exercise focuses on enhancing New Zealand’s Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC) and Forward Air Control (Airborne) capabilities. The PC-21 aircraft from No. 4 Squadron are normally based at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales. The aircraft provide a Forward Air Control (Airborne) training capability and ADF JTAC training support. This is the first time the RAAF has deployed the PC-21s for an international activity.
Commanding Officer of No. 4 Squadron, Wing Commander Sean Jobson, said,”The exercise will provide a valuable opportunity to integrate with Australia’s closest partner nation. A detachment from No. 4 Squadron will be deploying to RNZAF Base Ohakea for the exercise. No 4. Squadron will conduct Close Air Support training for the New Zealand Defence Force JTACs, supported by up to four RAAF PC-21 aircraft and two JTAC instructors. Deployments are a regular part of ADF operations, but training with our New Zealand partners demonstrates the longstanding relationship and ability to operate together as a joint force.”
The Pilatus PC-21 is a turboprop-powered advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit. It is manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The Pilatus PC-21 is an advanced single-engine trainer aircraft; it is often referred to by Pilatus as being the “Twenty-first Century Trainer”. The type can be applied for various training capacities, including basic flying training, advanced flight training, full mission management training, and embedded simulation/emulation. In order to perform these functions, the aircraft possesses a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective integrated training system; providing sufficient ease of use for inexperienced pilots while posing greater challenge to advanced pilots.
The PC-21 was one of the submissions for the Royal Australian Air Force’s project AIR 5428, which sought a replacement of its Pilatus PC-9s; in September 2015, it was announced that the consortium comprising Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific (“Team 21”), had won the bid to provide 49 PC-21s to the Australian Defence Force. A total of 49 PC-21s will eventually be handed over to the RAAF, with Flight Fleets Analyzer showing it as having accepted 10 of these to date. The first student pilots are scheduled to begin flying the type – which will replace a 30-year-old fleet of PC-9/As – in early 2019. It based at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.