Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft Ltd recently announced a EUR 22.5 million contract win against international competition. The firm will deliver 6 PC-12 NG light aircraft to the Finnish Air Force. The planes will be used in will be used as Multi Purpose Liaison Aircraft to transport Finnish air force personnel and cargo, replacing the Ilmavoimat’s existing Piper PA-31-350 Chieftains.
The selection follows more than 12 months of assessment and an extensive flight evaluation phase in Stans, Switzerland and the harsh Arctic Circle conditions of Iqaluit, Canada.
The PC-12 is a popular light aircraft, with the ability to take off and land using short dirt or grass runways. Over 850 are in service around the world, mostly as civilian aircraft. Para-public and military users beyond Switzerland include Canada’s RCMP, US Customs and Immigration, and US Special Operations Command (as the U-28A). The PC-12NG was unveiled in 2007 with an uprated turboprop engine (PW’s PT6-67P) that gives it better climb performance and cruise speed, a Honeywell APEX “glass” (digital) cockpit, and improvements to the cockpit pressurization and navigation systems.