Taiwan's T-5 advanced jet trainer is ready to begin operational testing

Taiwan Brave Eagle trainer jet
Taiwan's Brave Eagle advanced trainer jet.

Taiwan's first indigenous T-5 advanced jet trainer has completed functional flight tests and will soon begin operational tests, Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) said during the aircraft's recent public debut.

The operational test phase will be conducted jointly with the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) to ensure the aircraft meets all their needs, the company said.

During the event, the first two prototypes of the trainer were shown. One of them was co-piloted by company chairman Hu Kai-hung, a retired fighter pilot.

The capabilities of the trainer jet, codenamed Yung Ying (Brave Eagle), "exceeded the public’s expectations," Kai-hung told reporters after the flight.

"For example, the co-pilot in the back seat can enjoy an ultra-high-definition 4K monitor, which gives him a clear view of the outside environment," Kai-hung said.

Some defense experts have said the trainer can also be equipped with missiles to conduct combat missions, but the company declined to provide further details on the matter.

With yesterday's flight tests, open to the public, we concluded our tests on the two prototypes. A team of Air Force experts will soon join us to begin a series of operational tests and evaluations before the aircraft goes into mass production, the company said.

The new advanced trainer jet project was launched in 2017 to replace RoCAF's old AT-3 and F-5E/F trainer aircraft. A first prototype of the aircraft was unveiled in September 2019, while the first flights begin in June 2020.

The AIDC said it would build two more training jets by the end of this year and deliver them to RoCAF which in total is expected to receive 66 Brave Eagles by 2026.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense

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