$200 million in construction works at RAAF Base East Sale have hit the half way mark; and the first fleet of the new PC-21 aircraft has arrived at the base, as Sale prepares to become the home of all pilot training from 2019.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester joined Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne today at East Sale for the official handover of the first six Pilatus PC-21 aircraft.
The Basic Flying Training School will be relocated to East Sale commencing 2019, which means all pilots for the Air Force, Navy and Army will commence their training in Sale using the new PC-21 aircraft.
Mr Chester said the Basic Flying Training School is expected to deliver a $15 million per year boost to the Gippsland economy.
This is in addition to the current defence contribution to Gippsland of $12 million per year in direct wages and supplies.
“Construction of the new facilities at East Sale is on track for completion October next year,” Mr Chester said.
“Air Force is planning to commence PC-21 based training from January 2018, which will result in an intake of up to 165 trainee pilots each year, plus an increase in defence personnel living in Sale and supporting our local businesses.”
Minister Payne said the RAAF Roulettes would also be upgraded to the PC-21, showcasing the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft.
“The new pilot training system is a significant leap forward, training more of our people faster and to a higher standard than the current aircraft,” Minster Payne said.
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said today’s milestone marked another great achievement for the Australian Defence Force.
“The new pilot training system will produce multi-skilled aircrew able to operate all current and future fixed wing and rotary wing platforms,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“We will have higher pass rates, a better selection process and we will be able to prepare our students for their flying careers with the highly complex mission and system training required to operate our modern aircraft.”