TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Indigenous “Brave Eagle” advanced jet trainers (AJT) have appeared near Zhihang Air Force Base in Taitung County, drawing plane-lovers to their new home, reports said Thursday (April 22).
The new jets will start being deployed at the base by the end of the year, with the full order of 66 scheduled for delivery by the end of 2026. The planes will replace the U.S.-built F-5s, which have served Taiwan for some 35 years and have been plagued by fatal accidents.
After news broke that the jet trainers were seen taking off and landing at the base Wednesday (April 21), airplane spotters gathered on the banks of the nearby Taiping Creek, CNA reported.
According to the official Ministry of National Defense schedule, only two of the new planes will be stationed at Zhihang by the end of this year, with 31 others to follow before the end of 2024.
The ATJ was built by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC, 漢翔航空工業). The company said earlier this year it had completed its tests on the aircraft, leaving the Air Force to conduct its own.