Analysis | Why Taiwan AJT is a major military achievement?

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The very first Taiwan-made Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), “Brave Eagle” (勇鷹), completed its first flight on June 10, highlighting Taiwan’s determination to build self-reliance by completing aircraft production and research on its own.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who made a trip to Taichung Hanxiang (台中漢翔) to observe the plane on June 22, praised the AJT as a major achievement for Taiwan military.

Most people don’t know, however, that the development of this aircraft was first considered during the second term of Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) in office.

Back then, the DPP also began to think about the possibility of another party rotation and discussed the concept of Taiwan producing its own aircraft to improve the quality of traditional power submarines and advanced trainers. 

In terms of purchasing new military aircraft, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) policies differ significantly though.

KMT officials prefer to cooperate with foreign countries to produce training aircraft in Taiwan. In contrast, the DPP has continued to advocate that Taiwan build self-reliance by completing aircraft production and research itself. 

After the KMT was defeated by the DPP in 2016, resulting in the rotation of political parties in 2016, the plan of ​​cooperating with Italy to produce the M-346 trainer was abandoned, and Taiwan moved ahead with the plan to develop training aircraft by itself.

Only time will tell the success of such a military training aircraft made by Taiwan, but it is certain that such a development is a major achievement by Taiwan in terms of military technology.