The armed forces yesterday launched a five-day series of computer-simulated exercises incorporating maritime patrol aircraft and attack helicopters that are scheduled to enter service over the next year.
The computer scenario, which simulates an attack from China and is part of the Han Kuang 28 series of military exercises, included P-3C “Orion” maritime patrol aircraft and AH-64D Longbow attack helicopters, among other platforms, to see how they would fare in a combat environment.
Taiwan has signed contracts with the US for 12 refurbished P-3C aircraft, which will provide a much-needed boost to the nation’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The aircraft will replace the aging S-2T marine patrol aircraft.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has used the P-3C to great effect in its efforts to monitor intrusions by foreign ships in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
The military has also ordered from the US 30 AH-64D Longbow attack helicopters, whose main use will be for near-shore defense.
The first deliveries of P-3Cs and AH-64Ds are expected to begin within the next year.
The Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the exercise began yesterday, but did not provide further details.
However, defense officials said recently that the computer simulation would also include information and electronic warfare capabilities, two sectors in which US military officials are believed to be providing behind-the-scenes assistance.
Countermeasures to ballistic and cruise missile attacks, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles — all of which would likely play a role in the opening shots of war in the Taiwan Strait — will also be part of the exercise, reports said.
The five-day exercise, which involves the army, navy and air force, follows another five-day drill held in late April, which also simulated an attack by China.
The military also held a live-fire exercise at the Tri-Service Joint Training Base at Paolishan (保力山) in Henchun (恆春), Pingtung County, early last month following criticism that the exercises in April did not feature live ammunition.
Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) told the legislature recently that the military would incorporate lessons learned from this year’s computer-assisted war games into next year’s military exercises.
Additional reporting by AFP