Wed, Nov 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Defense ministry launches contest to name advanced supersonic jet trainer

Staff writer, with CNA

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi invites the public to enter a contest to name the nation’s advanced supersonic jet trainers at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The military is launching a contest to come up with a name for its advanced supersonic jet trainer aircraft currently under development.

Taichung-based Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) is scheduled to deliver 66 advanced trainer aircraft to the government by 2026 to replace the air force’s aging AT3 trainers and F5 fighters, the Ministry of National Defense said.

The government-funded AIDC had provisionally named the new jets “Blue Magpie,” after the endemic bird species, but when asked at a news conference in Taipei yesterday why the military was ditching the name, Major General Tang Hung-an (唐洪安), the head of the air force command’s planning division, sidestepped the question.

He would only say that the military wanted to allow public participation in the naming process.

Taiwanese should submit names that consist of two Chinese characters and are accompanied by an explanation of no more than 100 words, Tang said.

The winner of the contest would be awarded a NT$50,000 cash prize, while the runner-up and third-place finisher would receive NT$30,000 and NT$20,000 respectively, he said.

On June 1, AIDC began the assembly of the first of the 66 advanced jet trainers.

Ground testing of the aircraft is scheduled for September next year and the first test flight is scheduled to take place in June 2020, the ministry said.

The project is going smoothly and remains on schedule, Tang said.

AIDC so far has completed about 15 percent of the project, he said.

The company has completed more than 10,000 blueprints of the jet and signed 122 contracts with subcontractors to build some of its systems, he added.

The modernization and production of indigenous aircraft and submarines has been high on the agenda of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration since she came to power in May 2016.

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