Wed, Sep 03, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Military widens combat exercises

HAN KUANG:The air force is to practice for a situation where its bases are hit by using a freeway as a landing strip. Meanwhile, the Wanjian missile is to go into production

By Chou Su-yu and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ministry of Defense spokesman Rear Admiral Mei Chia-shu speaks at the ministry in Taipei yesterday about arrangements for the Han Kuang exercises.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The military is for the first time to incorporate cyberwarfare and civilian planes in its annual Han Kuang series of exercises later this month at various air bases and maritime areas.

The exercises will include drills centered on military personnel, equipment and aircraft to test joint combat capabilities of the air force, navy and army in case of an attack by China, Rear Admiral Mei Chia-shu (梅家樹) said.

As part of the exercise, the cyberwarfare drill is to test the military’s abilities to restore hobbled facilities, Mei said during a Ministry of National Defense press conference yesterday.

Live-fire drills will be held in waters off the eastern coast, south of Penghu, as well as in areas in Pingtung County, to test defensive capabilities, he said.

Exercises involving several civilian planes are to transport soldiers from Greater Kaohsiung to Penghu County to test readiness for wartime maneuvers, another military official said.

The Han Kuang exercises this year will last from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19 at designated sites, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said.

There will be drills to practice emergency takeoffs and landings for fighter jets on the Minsyong section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), which passes through Chiayi County, said Major General Li Ting-sheng (李廷盛), director of the air force’s Combat Readiness Training Division.

Aircraft used in the drill this month will include F16-A/Bs, Mirage 2000-5s and Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF), as well as the E-2K airborne early warning aircraft, a CH-47 helicopter, an OH-58D reconnaissance helicopter and two AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, Li said.

The exercises this year are to simulate an attack from China that destroys Taiwan’s air force bases, leaving the military to rely on the freeway for emergency takeoffs and landings, he said.

It is also to test the military’s ability to conduct refueling and re-supply operations in times of war, Li added.

To conduct the drill, the section of the freeway between the Chiayi and Dalin exits will be closed for 11 hours beginning at midnight on Sept. 16.

Meanwhile, a new weapon, known as the “Wanjian missile” (萬劍彈), is reportedly ready for production after being developed for many years by the ministry.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) yesterday confirmed the news about the weapon, which is designed to destroy enemy runways.

Developed at a cost of about NT$3 billion (US$100 million), the Wanjian cruise missile system will go into production next year, after passing initial combat testing trials recently, Lin said.

The missile contains hundreds of cluster bomblets to maximize damage to runways, while it can also be used against other enemy targets, including harbors, military encampments, radar systems and missile launch installations.

“Our IDF jets have been configured to carry the Wanjian missiles and can reach targets within 300km. This has improved the air-to-land attack capability to greater than that of the F16-A/B jets and expanded the air force’s attack range for coastal military installations in China,” Lin said.

He added that 40 IDF jets were outfitted to carry Wanjian missiles by the end of last year, and eventually all the nation’s 127 IDF jets will be configured for such capability.

Additional reporting by CNA

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