Fri, Oct 20, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Air force conducts night missile tests along east coast

By Yu Tai-lang  /  STAFF REPORTER IN HUALIEN

Four F-16s carried out a military exercise overnight near Hualien on Wednesday, test-firing several AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles.

In the past, this kind of exercise was held at dawn or in daylight hours. Wednesday's drill was the first time that exercises have been conducted under full cover of darkness.

Many locals were woken up by the sound of explosions.

As part of the test, ground crew also participated in a simulated combat situation.

The Ministry of National Defence (MND) said yesterday the overnight exercise were merely part of routine training.

“I am not aware of the details of this exercise activity so I am not able to confirm it or make any comments on it,” said Rear Admiral Wu Chi-fang (吳季方), an MND spokesman. “But yes it appears the air force did conduct such an activity and the event was witnessed by several observers.”

The spokesman mentioned that the air force, the navy and the army had recently conducted a series of “snap exercises” simulating various combat situations.

In July, Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) told military personnel to regard the “snap exercises” as real combat situations, and warned that live ammunition would be used during the events.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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