March 9, 2013: Botswana recently received six Pilatus PC 7 MkII prop driven trainer aircraft, to replace six 23 year old PC 7s. Botswana was impressed with the performance of the first six, which flew for over 28,000 hours and made over 70,000 landings. The MkII has a more powerful engine and numerous mechanical and electronic improvements over the original PC-7. Over 160 of the Mk II have been sold since it was introduced in the 1990s.
The Pilatus PC 7 is a two seat, 2.7 ton aircraft. The instructor sits behind the trainee and both have an ejection seat. Top speed is 400 kilometers an hour and endurance can be up to eight hours. These aircraft cost $7.5 million each and have hard points on the wings for carrying up to a ton of weapons. Nearly 500 PC 7s have been built in the last three decades and they are used by 24 nations.