Fri, Apr 15, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Military holds Han Kuang war games

AIRBORNE DRILLS:The drill in Greater Taichung saw female soldiers take part in a simulated parachute offensive for the first time and featured almost 2,600 soldiers

Staff Writer, with CNA

Soldiers participating in the five-day Han Kuang series of exercises stand in formation yesterday at the Ching Chuan Kang military base in Greater Taichung. This year’s exercises included eight female paratroopers for the first time.

Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times

The military held war games to drill its paratrooper and airborne defense units at an airbase in Greater Taichung yesterday as part of this year’s five-day Han Kuang series of exercises.

The 50-minute drill, which started at 7:30am at the Ching Chuan Kang Airbase, resembled a scrimmage, albeit with heavy weaponry and military expertise.

Planners divided a total of 2,596 soldiers into two teams of attackers and defenders.

The attack group launched two Indigenous Defense Fighter aircraft to clear the ground. Then, an onslaught of paratroopers, including 206 elite airborne soldiers, jumped out of transport aircraft to take the territory.

At the same time, ground defenders used the weapons at their disposal to repel the invaders. They deployed AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, OH-58D scout and attack helicopters, and physical barriers to block the advances by the paratroopers. In addition, the defenders also released smoke to disorient the airborne troops during their landing.

This drill marked the first Han Kuang exercise in which female soldiers — eight in all — took part in a simulated parachute offensive, the Ministry of National Defense said.

The drill came two days after the military staged another simulation to practice emergency landings and takeoffs on a section of freeway in Greater Tainan, which acts as a runway of last resort if airbases have already been taken out by enemy bombers.

Meanwhile, in other Han Kuang-related action, more than 3,000 troops engaged in an amphibious landing drill in Pingtung County.

At 7am, a fleet of amphibious gunboats approached the coast of Pingtung County and waited for marine specialists to launch bombs that would clear any mines from the waters. Their cargo included marines, M60A3 tanks and other armored vehicles.

When the coast was clear, troops started assaulting the beachhead from their amphibious transports and assault vehicles. At the same time, jet fighters and attack helicopters were also deployed to facilitate the landing operation.

During the offensive, one jeep was seen stuck on the beach and was later rescued by an armored vehicle, a scene that many spectators had thought was a mishap.

When the jeep was pulled onshore, however, the military broadcast said the beach “rescue” operation was “conducted successfully.”

The disabled jeep was reportedly part of the drill.

Chang Shou-ling (張壽齡), a senior official in the Marine Corps, said the rescue challenge was included to simulate a common glitch in these operations — that any landing vehicle could get stuck owing to conditions on the ground.

This year’s Han Kuang military exercises began on Monday and end today.

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