Slovenia’s PC-9M upgrade

Slovenia plans to upgrade its fleet of nine Pilatus PC-9M Hudournik (Swift) single-engine, tandem-seat turboprop training and light-attack aircraft under a public procurement estimated at €2.7 million.

The avionics upgrade tender published on March 14 will conclude on April 24 when the Slovenian Ministry of Defence expects all bids to be in. Signing of a framework agreement for the two-stage upgrade will follow comprising two lots.

Lot 1 covers development of upgraded PC-9M upgrade prototype, and Lot 2 covering follow-on serial modernization of the remaining eight aircraft.

The prototype will be equipped with a VHF Becker RT6512 radio transceiver, a twoband AM/FM radio transceiver, VHF/UHF Cobham RT 7000RMR (Remote) with two Wide Band Transceiver software definer radios, a Mode-S transponder, MST-70B Xponder, and a 406 MHz Kannad emergency locator transmitter (ELT). All prototype-related design, engineering, installation, testing and certification works should be completed within eight months after conclusion of the framework agreement. Acceptance of the prototype will mean executing flight tests by a mixed crew of a Slovenian military pilot and a pilot from the contractor.

Once the Ministry of Defence officially accepts the prototype, it will invite the winner of the tender to submit its final offer for the serial upgrade of the remaining eight aircraft.

However, the final number of PC-9Ms to be upgraded could be less than nine, all subject to sole discretion of the Slovenian Ministry of Defence, and would depend on the success of the prototype and budget. Under the terms of the tender, the Slovenian Ministry of Defence is not obliged to carry out the fleet’s upgrade within Lot 2. Nevertheless, all framework agreement work must be completed within 24 months of its signature.

The Brigada zračne obrambe in letalstva Slovenske vojske (Slovenian Air Force and Air Defence) operates nine PC-9Ms assigned to the 152. Letalska eskadrilja (152nd Fixed-wing Squadron) based at Cerklje ob Krki Air Base, located some 80km east of Ljubljana.