Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) announced on 2 March that its T-5 Yung Yin (‘Brave Eagle’) advanced jet trainer (AJT)/light fighter aircraft will soon be handed over to the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) to undergo operational testing and evaluation.
The announcement was made on the same day AIDC Chairman Hu Kai-hung flew on one of the two twin-seat T-5 prototypes (No 11001, 11002) that made their public debut on this occasion. After flying the aircraft, Hu was quoted by Taiwan’s Military News Agency as saying that the T-5 has “exceeded public expectations”.
The first T-5 prototype, which was developed in collaboration with the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), conducted its first flight in June 2020: about nine months after it was rolled out in September 2019. The second prototype flew in late December 2020.
Asked about whether production of the ‘Brave Eagle’ could start ahead of schedule, Hu told reporters that early production would depend on the timing of the RoCAF’s testing and evaluation effort.
The RoCAF is expected to acquire 66 units of the twin-seat T-5 under a TWD68.6 billion (USD2.2 billion) contract awarded in 2017. The aircraft is expected to replace the service’s ageing AIDC AT-3 trainers by 2026, while a light attack/fighter variant is intended to replace the service’s Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II combat aircraft.