A full-scale version of the Hankuang No. 19 exercise will be held late next month in Ilan, after the original exercise in May was scaled down because of the SARS outbreak, defense sources said yesterday.
Hankuang will be the largest military exercise held this year and will involve all the best weapon systems of the armed services.
It is the first time that a Hankuang-series exercise, begun in the early 1980s, will be launched twice a year.
Various kinds of missiles, including the US-made Harpoon and domestically-built Hsiung Feng-II anti-ship missile, will be test-fired during the exercise.
Two decommissioned Yang-class warships will be used as targets for the anti-ship missiles and torpedoes fired from a submarine.
The exercise will be one of the largest ever held and is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of NT dollars.
The military declined to explain why this year's exercise will be so large.
The answer could lie with the designer of the exercise -- 6th corps commander Lieutenant General Hu Cheng-pu (
His career has given him experience in conducting military exercises, especially large ones.
In the scaled-down version of the Hankuang No. 19 held in mid-May, Hu demonstrated his understanding of what a joint-operations exercise should be.
The Hankuang-series exercises are joint operations in nature, but in practice, few of them have lived up to their expectations.
Past exercises focused on demonstrating the capabilities of major weapon systems of the three services, more like a well-rehearsed play than a realistic drill.
The exercises were therefore ridiculed by several military officials as "military shows" aimed at pleasing the military leadership.
In this year's exercise, the air force and army will cooperate in a drill to rapidly deploy ground troops using parachutes, a defense source said.
Such an operation requires a lot of practice and is prone to glitches. It is a new tactic that the military might put to use in the event of a war in the Taiwan Strait.
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