Thu, Dec 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Military plans program for low-end training jet

GROUNDWORK:The new jets would help the defense industry avoid a possible slump after another project that is scheduled to be completed in nine years

By Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The ministry’s low-end trainer jet program is divided into 10-year components and will involve developing the capability for aircraft repair and supply into the next two to three decades.

The nation’s determination to manufacture locally made military jets remain unaffected by a minesweeper scandal, Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said at the event.

“I am confident that after 636 workdays, the first AIDC advanced trainer jet will take to the air by the year 2020,” Feng said.

The nation’s active service trainer jet, the AIDC AT-3, has hard points for carrying bombs and missiles, and is capable of serving as light attack aircraft, ministry officials said.

The advanced trainer jet’s increased fuel capacity would extend its range and operational flexibility, they said.

Previously, the military had developed an experimental dedicated strike aircraft the AIDC XAT-3 from the AT-3, a program that was active in the 1980s.

When asked whether the military would consider building a dedicated strike aircraft variant based on the planned advanced trainer jet, an ministry source replied in the negative.

The XAT-3 was a response to the absence of dedicated air-to-surface aircraft, whereas the air force currently possesses multiple types of surface-attack capable jets, the official said.

The military’s priority for the advanced trainer jet program is to replace the AT-3 and the new jets are anticipated to have block 1 and block 2 improvements, the official said.

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