Taiwan's Advanced Jet Trainer unveiled

THE NEW trainer for the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) was rolled out in a ceremony at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) factory in Taichung on September 24.

The Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) was unveiled in an event presided over by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen and received the name Yong Ying (Brave Eagle). The trainer – powered by a pair of non-afterburning Honeywell/ ITEC F124-200TW engines – is expected to make its first flight in June next year.

The ROCAF’s search for an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) ended in February 2017, with what was then known as the XT-5 announced as the future training platform.

AJT Taiwan [Formosa Military Image Press]
Rollout of the prototype Advanced Jet Trainer at Taichung. Formosa Military Image Press

A contract worth $2.2bn (USD), awarded to the military-run National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), was signed on February 7.

As a subcontractor, AIDC has developed and constructed the airframe which will be based on the dual-seat F-CK-1 fighter. Sixty-six AJTs will be built for the ROCAF, with deliveries of final production aircraft scheduled for 2026.

The aim is to develop the new trainer with a minimum of technical support from abroad. Compared with the F-CK-1, the AJT features an improved fuel system and revised avionics. Lighter materials should increase the thrust-to-weight ratio, while a thicker aerofoil will offer a better lift/drag relationship, resulting in lower approach and landing speeds.