Three decades of service have come to an end for the aircraft which has proven to be the backbone of Air Force and Navy flight training.

The PC-9/A aircraft was officially farewelled during a ceremony at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia on December 12.

Deputy Air Commander Australia Air Commodore Guy Wilson said he was proud to join hundreds of RAAF members, personnel from the supporting contractor, Airflite, along with representatives from original manufacturer Pilatus and their respective families at the function.

“The PC-9 aircraft has provided fantastic service to the Australian Defence Force over the past three decades," Air Commodore Wilson said.

“The aircraft has successfully supported 103 pilot training courses and graduated more than 1400 pilots from Navy and Air Force."

The PC-9/A retirement comes as Defence introduces one of the world’s most advanced training aircraft, the PC-21, as part of the new pilot training system project.

“For those who have flown and supported the PC-9 fleet, seeing them retire will be an emotional experience – but the introduction of the PC-21 allows us to deliver modern and effective training that will serve the next generation of pilots,” Air Commodore Wilson said.

The PC-9/A aircraft was introduced to service in 1987 and began pilot training two years later.

The retired fleet of PC-9/A aircraft will be disposed through transferring to heritage centres, allocated as training aids and through commercial sale.