The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday made public a list of routine exercises that will be held this year as part of its efforts to promote military transparency in the Taiwan Strait.
The highlight on the list is the Han Kuang No. 18 exercise, which will take place between April and May, the MND said.
The Han Kuang No. 18 exercise will be the armed forces' largest of the year and will test a new joint-operation mechanism that the military has formed on an experimental basis to handle growing joint-operation needs in the battlefield of the future. The new mechanism will be tested through computer simulations and physical maneuvers.
The exercise will also test computer simulations of the forces that the military will need to defend the nation against in the year 2005.
The Sheng Chien No. 43 and Lien Yun No. 66 exercises will be held at the same time as the Han Kuang No. 18.
The Sheng Chien No. 43 exercise will basically be a missile test, but the MND did not make public what kind of missile will be tested during the exercise.
In the past, the Sheng Chien series of exercises were mainly tests of the Hawk air defense missile.
The Lien Yun No. 66 exercise will be a parachute landing drill.
The ministry did not provide information about where the three exercises will take place. They will integrate with 14 other routine exercises that the MND also made public yesterday. The MND has been holding the exercises for several years in an attempt to boost military transparency in the Taiwan Strait.
"This year the exercises are designed mainly to strengthen the troops' joint-operations and night-fighting capabilities," MND spokesman Major General Huang Sui-sheng (黃穗生) said.
Besides the training of the regulars, the military will hold the Tung Hsin No. 14 exercise in May to test the combat readiness of newly-formed reserve brigades. The Tung Hsin No. 14 will be launched at the same time as the Han Kuang No. 18, in order to test the ability of reserve troops to provide assistance to regular troops at a time of war.
The ability of the active and reserve forces to function together is considered to be lacking -- therefore the focus is on their integration in the planned exercises. Their joint-operations capability has, however, been improving in recent years after the military leadership realized the importance of such operations in the modern battlefield.
This year's routine exercises will also focus on the development of night-fighting capabilities, which are also lacking because of a dearth of equipment and experience in the area.
The army will, for instance, hold a physical exercise in June that will pit two combined arms brigades against each other. This will give the top brass clues as to how close combined arms brigades -- which in recent years have replaced divisions -- are to reaching their training goals for efficient fighting during both day and night.