Taiwan has tasked Aerospace Industrial Development Corpor-ation (AIDC) with evaluating potential replacements for its Beech T-34 and indigenous AT-3 trainers. AIDC last week sponsored a symposium in Taipei to discuss long-term training solutions for Taiwan's air force with potential partners. Industry sources say AIDC will visit Aermacchi and Pilatus this week, and submit a report to the ministry of defence next month that analyses several alternatives.

Taiwan is looking to replace its 36 T-34Cs, with the Aermacchi M346, Pilatus PC-21 and Raytheon T-6 the leading candidates. All three manufacturers made presentations last week, but sources say Taiwan is also considering extending the service lives of its T-34s. Another option being evaluated is handing the aircraft to a company, then leasing them back on an hourly basis.

AIDC would assemble and maintain whichever aircraft is ultimately selected. Manufacturers say as many as 50 new trainers may be acquired because one aircraft could cover the entire T-34 and some of the current AT-3 syllabus.

A version of AIDC's IDF light fighter and a Northrop F-5 modified by California-based Tiger Century Aircraft are among the options being evaluated to perform the advanced training mission now done by a mix of AT-3s and F-5s. The life of the AT-3 may also be extended until 2015. Industry sources warn that the AIDC study is preliminary.


Source: Flight International