Local aircraft designer and manufacturer Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔航空工業) on Tuesday signed an agreement with Martin-Baker Aircraft Co to purchase ejection seat systems.
The British firm’s ejection seats are to be used in AIDC’s advanced jet trainer (AJT) that it is building for the air force, the company said.
AIDC chairman Anson Liao (廖榮鑫), who led a delegation to London to ink the accord, said in a statement that the agreement was a milestone for Taiwan’s national defense supply chain.
The Ministry of National Defense has commissioned AIDC and its supply chain to design and manufacture 66 advanced jet trainers, with the first prototype scheduled to be completed in 2019 and flight tests expected to start in 2020.
The 66 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by 2026 and are to replace the military’s AT-3 trainer aircraft and F-5 jets, which are more than 30 years old.
“The contract between AIDC and Martin-Baker facilitates cooperation opportunities and is a major milestone in the launch of AJT systems,” AIDC said in the statement.
“Both parties will work together, not only to achieve the goal of making the AJT program successful, but also to extend future collaboration in areas such as ejection seats, pilot personal equipment, parachutes” and other equipment, the firm said.
The firms did not disclose financial terms for the agreement.
Representative to the UK David Lin (林永樂), who witnessed the signing of the agreement, said Taiwan values exchanges between Taiwanese and British enterprises, and Martin-Baker’s support for the nation’s advanced jet trainer development is appreciated.
Through the agreement, Taiwan and the UK will strengthen cooperation in aviation development to create a safer environment, he said.
The agreement would further integrate AIDC’s supply chain, which would help it deliver the 66 trainers on schedule, Liao said.
“We also expect to provide a chance to foster talent in the aerospace industry and strengthen the links between industries in Taiwan, which can lend great support to the development of AJTs and next-generation fighters,” Liao said.
AIDC shares yesterday rose 2.3 percent to close at NT$37.75 in Taipei trading, outperforming the TAIEX, which ended up 0.26 percent.
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