New Air Force trainer jet to take first flight this month

Taiwan’s ROC Air Force will take the new advanced jet trainer Yong-ying (勇鷹 / Brave Eagle) for its first test flight around June 20, according to The Storm Media.

Military sources said that the first test flight is planned for the end of June and on the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Designed and manufactured by the government-funded Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC), the Brave Eagle is designed with combat capabilities, can be armed with bombs and missiles, and can be used in wartime if required. The new aircraft will gradually replace the aging fleet of AT-3 trainer jets and F5 fighters.

The new AJT was taken on a spin for runway taxi tests at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base last week.

Taiwan ROC advanced jet trainer Yong-ying
A taxiing test allowed military aircraft enthusiasts to snap pictures on the Brave Eagle in Taichung earlier this month. Picture: reader-provided to United Daily News.

According to the United Daily News report on the taxi test, the upcoming flight test will involve a basic take-off and landing test. The landing gear will not be retracted for the flight.

The air force will take delivery of 66 of the new fighters by 2026. AIDC also hopes to find a market for the jets overseas.

Taiwan has implemented an indigenous shipbuilding policy for the navy, and now the air force has implemented an indigenous aircraft manufacturing policy, according to The Storm Media. The new AJT is the most representative achievement of the policy so far.

Replacement of the AT-3 and F-5 will allow a three-aircraft, three-stage training system to be replaced with a two-aircraft, three-stage training system, saving time and cost, and improving efficiency by reducing cross-aircraft conversion, The Storm Media reported.

“This indigenous build effort is part of an overall plan to wean Taiwan off expensive and politically troublesome US defense acquisitions — which often consist of refurbished older platforms — and develop a robust defense industry on the island,” according to Defence News.

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