TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The chairman of the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC, 漢翔航空工業) was a passenger on board one of two indigenous “Brave Eagle” Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) for tests Tuesday (March 2) in the run-up to when the planes start replacing the United States-built F-5s in Taitung later this year.
The planes are the first two out of 66 which are scheduled to enter service by the end of 2026 and replace the F-5s, which have served Taiwan for at least 35 years. Last October, a Taiwanese pilot died after his F-5E Tiger jet plunged into the ocean shortly after taking off from Chihang Air Force Base, where the new AJT will be based.
AIDC Chairman Hu Kai-hung (胡開宏), a former Air Force pilot, took one of the two flights Tuesday that followed the standard war training program for new jets over the course of 40 minutes, CNA reported. Internal company tests have been completed, so now it is up to the Air Force to put the jets through their paces before taking delivery by the end of the year.
The tests were evidence that AIDC was serious about the indigenous production of weapons systems, including jet trainers and other aircraft, Hu said.