Pilatus hands over PC-7 MkII to Botswana
Pilatus has formally handed over PC-7 MkII Turbo Trainer Aircraft to the Botswana Defence Force.
The ceremony took place on 8 February 2013 in Gaborone. His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Botswana and Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama attended the event.
This milestone marked the successful completion of the delivery and entry into service of the five new BDF Pilatus PC-7 MkII aircraft. In his handover address, the Pilatus Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk noted that the relationship between the Botswana Defence Force and Pilatus dates back to 1989 when the supply contract for seven PC-7 trainers.
After two decades of successful operation with more than 28,000 hours flown and more than 70,000 landings recorded the ageing PC-7 aircraft reached the end of their operating life.
In 2011 the BDF opted to replace the PC-7 with the more advanced and modern PC-7 MkII trainer aircraft. The major program highlight was the acceleration of the schedule on request of the BDF, with all five new aircraft being delivered in 2012, four months earlier than originally planned.
The old PC-7s have also been phased out and from 2013 onwards all cadets can be trained on the new modern PC-7 MkII aircraft. As in the past, the new aircraft will be operated and maintained by Botswana Defence Force personnel, supported by Pilatus Switzerland.