The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan's Air Force chief test flies F-5 fighter after deadly crash

ROC Central News Agency

11/14/2020 03:12 PM

Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force conducted a test flight of one of its F-5 fighter jets on Saturday, after completing major checkups of its fleet, following a deadly crash more than two weeks ago, according to Taiwan's military news service.

The test flight took place at 8:50 a.m., involving an F-5F with the tail number 5261, and was co-piloted by Air Force chief Hsiung Hou-chi (熊厚基), a report from the Military News Agency (MNA) said.

The aircraft landed safely at Taitung's Zhi-Hang Air Base after the 40-minute flight, the report said.

"I took part in the test flight to show our countrymen that the F-5s are reliable and to demonstrate the will of our Air Force service members to defend our sky," Hsiung was quoted by the report as saying.

On Oct. 29, an F-5E, a single-seated variant of the F-5, crashed into the sea less than two minutes after taking off from Zhi-Hang Air Base, killing its pilot Chu Kuan-meng (朱冠甍).

The Air Force had since suspended the operation of all its F-5s for major inspections.

According to the MNA report, inspections of the engine system, emergency escape system, fuel system and electronic instruments, as well as corrosion protection, were performed on all F-5s.

The October crash has raised doubts about deploying the aged F-5s, the earliest batch of which was manufactured in 1973 with the help of U.S.-based Northrop Corporation.

However, the Air Force has emphasized several times that the usability of a plane depends on its condition and not its age, pointing out that 26 countries around the world are still employing F-5s.

"I believe the F-5s are safe to fly. That's why I was willing to join this test mission," Hsiung said, according to the MNA report.

Despite this, Taiwan's Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) has said the Air Force will replace its F-5s with indigenous advanced jet trainers (AJT) within the next three years.

Meanwhile, the military's investigation on the crash is still ongoing partly because the wreckage of the ill-fated F-5E has yet to be recovered due to rough weather conditions, a military source told CNA.

Taiwan's Presidential Office has announced the posthumous promotion of Chu from captain to lieutenant colonel, effective Oct. 29.

(By Emerson Lim and Matt Yu)


Join the mailing list