TYPE: Two seat advanced trainer and light attack aircraft
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Taiwan
POWERPLANT: AT-3 - Two 15.6kN (3500lb) Garrett TPE731-2-2L nonafterburning turbofans.
PERFORMANCE: AT-3 - Max speed at 36,000ft 904km/h (488kt), or 900km/h (486kt) at sea level, max cruising speed at 36,000ft 880km/h (475kt). Max initial rate of climb 10,100ft/min. Service ceiling 48,000ft. Range with internal fuel 2280km (1230nm). Endurance with internal fuel 3hr 12min.
WEIGHTS: AT-3 - Empty equipped 3855kg (8500lb), normal takeoff (trainer, clean) 5215kg (11,500lb), max takeoff 7940kg (17,500lb).
DIMENSIONS: AT-3 - Wing span 10.46m (34ft 4in), length including nose probe 12.90m (42ft 4in), height 4.83m (15ft 10in). Wing area 21.9m2 (236.1 sq ft).
ACCOMMODATION: Seating for two in tandem. AT-3A seats pilot only.
ARMAMENT: Can be fitted with gun pods in an internal weapons bay. Disposable armament can be carried on one centreline pylon, four underwing hardpoints and two wingtip launch rails. Can carry bombs, rockets, wingtip mounted AAMs and training bombs.
HISTORY: The AT-3 Tzu Chung was AIDC's second indigenous design to enter Taiwanese service behind the turboprop powered Chung Tsing, and serves with the Taiwanese Air Force as an advanced/ weapons trainer and light attack and close support aircraft. Up until the development of the Chung-Kuo fighter, the AT-3 was the most advanced aircraft to be developed by Taiwan's emerging aircraft industry.
Serious design of the AT-3 began in 1975 with the placement of a development contract. The first of two prototypes flew for the first time on September 16 1980, while the first production aircraft flew on February 6 1984. In all, AIDC built 60 AT-3s for the Republic of China Air Force, the last of which was delivered in 1990.
All 60 production aircraft were designated AT-3. The AT-3A Lui Meng meanwhile was a single seat dedicated light ground and maritime attack development. Two prototypes were known to have been built (the first one being converted from a two seat AT-3) and flown in the late 1980s, but the aircraft's current status is unclear, with development thought to have been suspended.
The AT-3A could have been suspended in favour of the two seat AT-3B, which features the nav/attack system initially developed for the Lui-Meng. Twenty AT-3s were converted to AT-3B standard which features a Westinghouse AN/APG-66 radar and an internal weapons bay that can carry semi recessed machine gun packs. The aircraft can carry a variety of weaponry, including wingtip mounted infrared guided AAMs, in addition to bombs and rockets on four underwing and a centreline pylon. The AT-3B's maximum external stores load is 2720kg (6000lb).
Power for the AT-3 is supplied by two Garrett TFE731 turbofans, while the airframe is of conventional construction. Other features include zero/zero ejection seats and the ability to carry and deploy an aerial target towing system.
Photos AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung