04/30/2012. The AT-3 development contract was placed in July 1975 following a study for a T-33 replacement, on December 15, 1975, AIDC signed a co-develop agreement with Northrop. The first of two prototypes, 0801 (69-6001), was first flown on September 16, 1980, the second, 0802 (71-6002), first flew on October 30, 1981. Production of 62 aircraft for Taiwan started in March 1982, and the first, 0803 (73-6003), flew on February 6, 1984. Deliveries of the Tsu Chiang (translates as: self strengthening) to the Taiwanese AF began in March 1984, while production was completed by early 1990.
A single-seat dedicated attack version, designated XA-3 Lui Meng, was cancelled after two prototypes (0901, 71-7001 and 0902. 71-7002) were built. From the late 1980s the type was used by the Thunder Tiger Demonstration team. AIDC retained the two XA-3 prototypes and the 23rd production AT-3 (0825, 75-6025). XA-3 0901 has mainly been used for contract target-towing missions while XA-3 0902 and AT-3 0825 (unofficially redesignated AT-3B) have been heavily modified including the addition of a radar and fire control system for anti-ship missiles, and a glass cockpit.