TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taiwan Air Force on Thursday increased the trial flight hours of the very first Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), “Brave Eagle” (勇鷹), to 130 minutes a day up from 70 minutes.
Commissioned by Taiwan’s military, the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) will develop and produce 66 “Brave Eagle” jets which are expected to be fully commissioned in 2026.
Taiwan military added one hour to the original trial flight session, which unfolds daily from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Air Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) said at a budget review on Thursday.
Starting from next year, a morning session will unfold from 11:40 to 12:40 a.m., in order to meet the requirement for new aircrafts’ trial run, Huang added.
Speaking at the Legislative Yuan (Parliament), Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), asked how long would it take for the test planes to go into mass production?
A representative of the AIDC said that the regular test flights started in June 2020 and they will unfold until September next year. “If the test is completed and meets the requirements of the Air Force, mass production will start in November next year,” he added.
The Air Force plans to spend NT$68.6 billion between 2017 and 2028 for the development and production of the “Brave Eagle” jets.
The AIDC representative also explained that NT$7.6 billion, included in the original budget, are allocated to the production of two extra “Brave Eagle” test planes and the development of simulators for training.
The first two “Brave Eagles” are being assembled and are expected to be tested in September next year. They will be delivered in November and December 2021, respectively.
After discussion, legislators decided to freeze a budget of NT$100 million until after the Air Force submits a project report on test flights in September 2021.
In June, “Brave Eagle” (勇鷹), completed its first flight, highlighting Taiwan’s determination to build self-reliance by completing aircraft production and research on its own.