Three Pilatus PC-12NG Spectre aircraft purchased for the Irish Air Corps (IAC) for more than €43m flew into Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, Ireland, on September 10, to replace five Cessna FR172H Skyhawks.
The aircraft have been allocated IAC serials 281, 282 and 283, but they arrived wearing the temporary US civil registrations N280NG (c/n 1795), N281NG (c/n 1838) and N282NG (c/n 1844).
The PC-12NG can be used for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, troop and equipment transport and medical evacuation. The three aircraft underwent a series of tests and inspections following their arrival. Additional flight and equipment testing occurred later in September and continued into October. Testing needs to be completed before the aircraft are to be fully accepted and deemed ready for operations. The five Cessna FR172H Skyhawks being replaced were purchased in 1972.
Ireland’s Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, visited the aircraft at Casement Aerodrome on September 16. He said: “These aircraft will provide a versatile capability to the Air Corps and will be capable of operating in various roles on a 24/7 basis in all types of weather conditions.”
The contract for the aircraft was awarded to Pilatus in December 2017 following an open tender.