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)

Enditem/cs



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list