The new trainer Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) for the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), now known as the Yong Ying or Brave Eagle, was rolled out in a ceremony presided over by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) factory in Taichung on September 24.
The aircraft revealed at the ceremony bears the designation A1 and will be one of four test and development airframes. Plans call for a first flight in June 2020. Production of 66 airframes over six years is expected to begin in 2021.
The Brave Eagle, formerly known as Blue Magpie, is a joint collaboration between the stateowned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the ROCAF, and AIDC.
It is based on AIDC’s F-CK-1 air defence fighter but is made up of 80% new components. Extensive use of composites has reduced weight as has the removal of the gun. The wing has been redesigned to improve low-speed handling characteristics.
It will be powered by two nonafterburning Honeywell/ITEC F124- 200TW engines.
President Tsai holds up the development of the Brave Eagle as the cornerstone of Taiwan’s policy of self-reliance in military matters and said at the ceremony: “Since the development of the IDF [F-CK-1], our fighter development knowledge has steadily atrophied due to a lack of investment by the Defence Ministry … hence, we have decided to pursue the local development of the Advanced Jet Trainer to provide a boost to our defence industry.”
The Brave Eagle will replace the AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung or Self Reliance and F-5E/F Tiger IIs for advanced flight training and tactical flight training.