Taiwan has tested the first two indigenously built “Brave Eagle” jet trainers which will replace US-built F-5s later this year.
Hu Kai-hung, a former Air Force pilot and chairman of Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), himself took part in the test exercise, according to daily Taiwan News.
The planes are the first two out of 66 which are planned to enter service by end of 2026.
Internal company tests have been completed, so now it is up to the Air Force to put the jets through their paces before taking delivery by the end of the year, the daily said.
The tests showed that AIDC is serious about the indigenous development of weapons systems, including jet trainers and other aircraft, Hu said. The test flight was held on Tuesday for at least 40 minutes.
China has always taken a clear position that Taiwan is part of China, while Taipei governments have prevaricated, initially claiming it hosted the Chinese government in 1949 and held the UN position for China until 1970s. It has diplomatic relations with 16 countries and regions. The US which used to recognise Taiwan as “China”, supported China’s stance and started calling it ” people on Taiwan” when it recognised officially PRC and Deng Xiaoping visited the USA in 1979, however, has lately been expressing open support to Taiwan and selling high-tech weaponry to Taipei.
Taiwan tests first two indigenous Brave Eagle jet trainers to replace F-5s. Two jets should be based in eastern Taiwan's Taitung County by end of 2021 https://t.co/C3U1b00kJr— Taiwan Defense (@taiwandefense) March 2, 2021
A Taiwanese pilot died last October when the F-5E Tiger jet he was flying crashed into the ocean shortly after taking off from Chihang Air Force Base. The island nation has been using the US jets for the past 35 years.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Coast Guard held a one-day live-fire artillery drill on Monday, which will be repeated next Tuesday.
The aim of the military exercises on Dongsha Island is to simulate various defensive scenarios and strengthen combat readiness, the Taiwanese Coast Guard said.
Dongsha or Pratas Island is located in the northern part of South China Sea.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk