Sat, Nov 06, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan’s first fighter jet trainer celebrates its 30th anniversary

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, fourth from the left, takes part in an event organized by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp in Taichung yesterday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Taiwanese-designed and built AT-3 jet.

PHOTO: CNA

The nation celebrated the 30th anniversary of the maiden flight of its self-designed, self-manufactured jet trainer yesterday.

In attendance at the Taichung complex of Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) were Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠), Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and representatives from the air force.

The event started with a film documenting the difficulties encountered during three decades of the trainer’s development and how they were overcome.

“Without the AIDC, there would be no aerospace industry in Taiwan,” Lin said.

In 1975, the air force asked the Aero Industry Development -Center, the company’s predecessor, to research and develop a new trainer to replace its aging T-33 trainers, AIDC said.

Sixty-three AT-3 trainers were made, the company said, of which two were prototypes. The first rolled out on July 17, 1980, and made its maiden flight on Sept. 16, 1980.

Development and manufacture of the plane was a significant step in the history of the nation’s -aviation industry, AIDC said, saying that it signaled Taiwan’s transition from propeller-driven aircraft to jet planes.

As a result of the experience gained through the development of the AT-3 trainers, the country was later able to develop its first defense fighter: A supersonic, twin-engined plane similar to the F-16, but slightly smaller and with a slightly shorter range.

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