Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PLA Navy JT-9 trainer aircraft unveiled

The new trainer aircraft is yet another piece falling into place in China’s aspirations for an aircraft-carrier force

The People’s Liberation Army Navy last week made public footage of its brand new JT-9 advanced carrier-borne training aircraft, which Chinese media claimed was “superior” to the US’ T-45 “Goshawk.” The JT-9, which initial reports had referred to as the JL-9H, is expected to become the main platform on which Chinese navy pilots practice takeoffs and landings on a carrier deck. Several months of training (and some losses) lie ahead for PLAN pilots before they attain the skill levels needed to be operational at sea.

My article, published today in Jane’s Defence Weekly, continues here (subscription required).


mike said...

Meanwhile our pilots continue to crash and die in their miserable little T-34s.

Would you be able to comment on that?

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...


Trainers are rarely a priority. As recently as last year, both the USAF and USN were still in the process of phasing out their T-38 “Talon” trainers, which were introduced in 1961. The majority of trainers (for carrier landings) are now the more recent T-45 “Goshawk,” while the services appear to have run into all kinds of difficulties finding the money for a new “T-X” trainer.

So in that sense, Taiwan’s old T-34 are not exactly an exception. That said, it should be noted that a substantial amount of training for Taiwanese pilots on the F-16s takes place at Luke Air Force Base in the US, and that ROCN pilots will soon start training on the recently acquired P-3C “Orion” at an undisclosed location in Florida, with Canada-made simulators to come. Quality training at US bases is obviously something the PLAAF and PLAN have access to, and I have yet to see indications that their pilots are getting this kind of treatment at equivalent Russian bases.

So it’s not all bad.

mike said...

Eight crashes in two decades...

Apparently the FAA in the States grounded the T34s in 2004 to sort out an issue with the wing spars.

Might there be a similar, or other maintenance issue with Taiwan's T34s?