Taiwan’s indigenously developed T-5 Yong Yīng (Brave Eagle) advanced jet trainer (AJT) destined for Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) service has performed its maiden flight following its rollout in December 2019, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 10 June.
Brave Eagle Test Flight
The test flight of the Brave Eagle prototype A1 (serial number 11001), which is the first of four test platforms being built by the Taiwan Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) in partnership with the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), took place from Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung and lasted for around 20 minutes.
Previously identified as the XAT-5 Lán Què (Blue Magpie) during its early development, the T-5 Brave Eagle draws heavily on AIDC’s experience in developing and manufacturing the in-service F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter (IDF), albeit differentiated by as much as 80% worth of new content despite the physical resemblance.
Other enhancements include a revised and strengthened airframe that has been optimised for low-speed flight stability, increased internal fuel capacity, and a redesigned undercarriage for improved landing and taxiing operations.
US$2.2 billion contract
The US$2.2 billion contract for the T-5’s development was awarded to AIDC/NCSIST on 7 February 2017, with the aim of producing up to 66 aircraft by 2026 to replace the ageing AIDC AT-3 trainers and license-built Northrop F-5E/F Tiger IIs fighter/trainers that have been in use since the 1980s and 1970s.
Low-rate production will commence from November 2021, with serial production expected from March 2023 onwards.
NCSIST will supply up to 26 ground-based training systems (GBTS), including 16 mission planning systems, three basic flight simulators, a full-function flight simulator, a ground-based real-time monitoring system, and a flight training management system.
Like the IDF, the T-5 will be powered a pair of locally manufactured F124-200TW turbofan engines supplied by the International Turbine Engine Company (ITEC), a joint venture between AIDC and Honeywell Aerospace.
Taoyuan-based Pyras Technology has reportedly been contracted to supply the radar and communications antenna, while the aircraft’s equipment fit also includes a customised BAE Systems cockpit display system as well as Martin Baker ejection seats.
by Jr Ng