Updated: November 15, 2020 3:15:34 pm
Taiwan’s Air Force Chief Hsiung Hou-chi joined the first test flight of an F-5 fighter jet nearly two weeks after another F-5 aircraft crashed killing its pilot. The country’s fleet of ageing F-5 fighter jets was grounded and checks were carried out soon after the accident in which a pilot was killed, the BBC reported.
“I believe F-5s are safe to fly. That’s why I was willing to join this test mission,” Air Force Chief Hsiung Hou-chi said, after a 40-minute test flight in the two-seater jet on Saturday, according to a report by the Military News Agency.
“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,” he added. Hou-chi pointed out that the jets, which are over 40-years-old, are still used in around 26 countries across the world.
Despite the Air Force Chief’s faith in the planes, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry has said that the F-5s will be replaced with indigenous advanced jet trainers (AJT) within the next three years, Focus Taiwan reported.
On October 29, a single-seat version of the F-5 crashed soon after take off due to a mechanical issue, BBC reported. According to local media, an investigation into the crash is still underway, partly because the wreckage of the jet is yet to be retrieved due to bad weather.
Following the incident, Chu Kuan-men — the pilot who died in the crash — was posthumously promoted from captain to lieutenant colonel, Taiwan’s presidential office announced last month. The Air Force suspended the operation of all F-5 jets until checks and test flights were completed.
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