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Taiwan's aging F-5E aircraft to be replaced by Brave Eagle trainer jets

Ministry of Defense announces retirement of the Cold War-era jets by 2024

Brave Eagle taking off. (Ministry of National Defense photo)

Brave Eagle taking off. (Ministry of National Defense photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Tuesday (Nov. 3) that the nation’s aging F-5 fighters will be retired in 2024, while 45 new Brave Eagle advanced jet trainers (AJT) will be ready for service that same year.

The deadly crash on Oct. 29 involving an F-5E fighter jet was a reminder that these Cold War-era aircraft are ready to be retired. According to the MND, its fleet of F-5Es was obtained in batches from 1963 to 1975, with a total of 308.

Later, 201 of them were phased out in 1992. From 1998 to 2016, 61 more aircraft were eliminated, and only 46 were left.

The MND pointed out that its plan to replace the remaining F-5Es with the new Brave Eagle AJTs will be complete by 2028, CNA reported. The first trainer aircraft prototype was unveiled in September 2019, and it completed its inaugural flight in June of this year.

66 AJTs are expected to be delivered by June 2026.

Of the 45 Brave Eagle jets expected by 2024, 33 will be deployed at Taitung’s Chihhang Air Force Base, while 12 will be stationed at Kaohsiung's Gangshan Air Force Base. This way, the F-5Es can be phased out by the end of 2021.

Regarding personnel retraining, the defense ministry stated that an initial batch of F-5E instructors has been stationed at Tainan Air Force Base since July 2020 to undergo training for the Brave Eagle jet.

Updated : 2022-05-23 17:20 GMT+08:00