Taiwan is replacing its aging AT-3 and F-5 training aircraft with the domestically developed Brave Eagle advanced trainer.
The F-5 fighter jets will retire from combat duty by the end of 2023, Taiwan News first reported, quoting a military source.
However, the current fleet of RF-5E Tigereye jets, a reconnaissance version of the aircraft, will continue their surveillance missions until the Taiwanese Air Force (ROCAF) receives MS-110 reconnaissance pods. Manufactured by Collins Aerospace, these pods can be installed on the ROCAF F-16 fighters or its future MQ-9B drones.
The AIDC AT-3, also known as the Brave Eagle, is a Taiwanese advanced trainer aircraft domestically designed and manufactured by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) to serve as a primary training platform for the ROCAF. As an advanced jet trainer, it will prepare military pilots for high-performance fighter jets.
The first prototype successfully conducted its maiden flight in June 2020. Since then, AIDC has been steadily delivering these advanced trainers to the ROCAF, which plans to acquire up to 66 aircraft.
In line with the introduction of the Brave Eagle and the retirement of the older aircraft, Taiwan has streamlined its flight training program from three different aircraft, the T-34, the AT-3, and the F-5, to only two, the T-34 and the Brave Eagle. Some F-5 jets may still be transferred to training units to serve in other roles such as target drones or aggressors. Others will be used as decoys near Taiwanese military runways.