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Taiwan contractor rejects reports of Brave Eagle jet trainer delays

Delivery of 17 jets to be completed by end of December

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"Brave Eagle" training jets in the skies above Gangshan Air Force Base in Kaohsiung City Friday. 

"Brave Eagle" training jets in the skies above Gangshan Air Force Base in Kaohsiung City Friday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 17 “Brave Eagle” Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) scheduled for delivery to Taiwan’s Air Force will be handed over by the end of the month as agreed, the manufacturer said Friday (Dec. 1).

The Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) produces the planes in Taiwan. They will eventually number 66 and replace F-5 and AT-3 training jets scheduled to be retired in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

According to a UDN report, the program was experiencing delays, with at least five jets unlikely to be ready by the end of 2023. AIDC rejected the report, saying that supply chains and manufacturing procedures were moving according to plan, with the delivery of all 17 planes to be completed within the month, per CNA.

The handover of the aircraft would take the total number of “Brave Eagles” in the Air Force to 28, with 18 each expected for 2024 and 2025, and the three last ones in 2026.

The COVID-19 pandemic destabilized supply lines, but thanks to the efforts of AIDC staff, that period had been concluded, the Taiwanese company said. AIDC acknowledged that indigenous defense programs were never easy, but that they were a necessity to defend the country.