AT-5 Brave Eagle Tiwan’s New Training Jet

On 22 June, the newly designed Taiwanese AT-5 Brave Eagle made its first test flight. This comes as part of the efforts of Taiwan's President, Tsai Ing-wen, to prioritise the country's defence industry as China increases pressure on the island.

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AT-5 Brave Eagle was made by Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation, and it is the first jet made domestically since the F-CK-1 Ching-kuo fighter, that was unveiled more than three decades ago.

A joint programme between state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the Republic of China Air Force, and AIDC, the Brave Eagle is based on the twin-seat version of the F-CK-1 Indigenous Defence Fighter, but 80% of its components are new.

Main changes include  more fuel capacity, the removal of the fighter’s gun, greater use of composites, and a wing optimised for slower, more stable low-level flight.

President Tsai said on Monday that "the new trainer aircraft not only has created more than 2,000 job opportunities, but will also pass on experiences and cultivate a new generation of aerospace industry technical talent."

The president added that this aircraft demonstrated that Taiwan possesses the technology and is capable on meeting its defence needs domestically.

This comes as part of Tsai's government plan to boost Taiwan's defence capabilities in the face of a growing challenge from China. Moreover, the country is currently working on the development of submarines to be made domestically.

The T-5 was unveiled by Tsai at a ceremony in September 2019. At the time plans called for a first flight in June 2020.

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