Drill simulates PLA landing in Penghu

‘RELIABLE’::The government will support the armed forces in reforming national defense and improving conditions for military personnel, the president said

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Fri, May 26, 2017 - Page 1

The armed forces yesterday conducted a live-fire exercise in the Penghu islands, concluding the main part of the 33rd annual Han Kuang military exercises, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) observing the drill which simulated a landing attempt by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The scenario involved a landing by the PLA, with the nation’s armed forces launching an operation to repel the attack.

The Marine Corps acting as PLA troops launched an amphibious assault, with a naval formation of Keelung-class destroyers, a Tuo Chiang-class stealth corvette and Kuang Hua VI fast-attack missile boats providing covering fire.

The air force then launched the first wave of counterattack, with a group of fighter jets firing missiles at target areas at sea, and the army mobilized attack helicopters, tanks and infantry units, and launched an artillery barrage against landing troops.

More than 3,900 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines participated in the exercise, and weapons and equipment used in the drill included F-16 jets, Indigenous Defense Fighters, AH-64E Apache helicopters, UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters, RT-2000 multiple launch rocket systems, M60A3 tanks, 155mm and 105mm howitzers, and other light weapons.

Tsai praised the performance of the armed forces, saying the drill was necessary to ensure national safety and the well-being of Taiwanese.

The president reiterated her pledge to build the nation’s defense capabilities with locally developed weapons, including submarines, surface vessels and trainer jets.

The government would raise the nation’s research and manufacturing capabilities to develop necessary weapons, which could boost the local defense sector and the business environment as a whole, Tsai said.

“The most important thing in achieving defensive self-sufficiency is to show the world that Taiwan is determined to defend itself,” Tsai said.

“As the commander-in-chief, I am the most reliable supporter of the armed forces. The government will fully support the military in either reforming national defense or improving the working conditions for military personnel,” she said.

Yesterday was the fourth day of this year’s Han Kuang exercises, the first such event since the Ministry of National Defense changed the nation’s defense strategy from “effective deterrence” to “multi-layered deterrence.”

Although the content shared with the media showed a traditional live-fire drill, there were electronic warfare operations involved, suggesting the military’s awareness to adapt to changes in battle strategies and tactics, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said.

Today is the last day of this year’s drill, simulating a Chinese attack on the Ching Chuan Kang (清泉崗) air base in Taichung.

The response to the simulated attack is to involve all branches of the armed forces, including fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles.