Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Air force to hold highway emergency drill: ministry

Staff writer, with CNA

A Republic of China Air Force F-16 jet releases flares while supporting ground forces in a landing drill in Pingtung County on June 7 last year, as part of the annual Han Kuang military exercise.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

The air force is to stage an emergency landing and takeoff drill on a highway as part of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercise, the Ministry of National Defense officially announced yesterday.

The drill is expected to feature the nation’s three main fighter aircraft — the F-16A/B, the Mirage 2000-5 and the Indigenous Defense Fighter — as well as E-2K early warning aircraft, but the plan could change, Operations and Planning Division head Major General Yeh Gou-huei (葉國輝) told a media briefing.

The drill would be held from 6:15am to 7:35am on May 28 on the Huantan section of the Sun Yat-sen National Freeway (Freeway No. 1) in Changhua County to test the air force’s emergency response capabilities should the nation’s military airports sustain damage during wartime.

It would be among a series of live-fire exercises to be held from May 27 to 31 as part of the Han Kuang exercise and would be the first such drill since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, Yeh said.

A similar drill was held in September 2014 on the Minxiong section (民雄) of the highway in Chiayi County, he said.

The military chose the highway sections in coordination with the Freeway Bureau to ensure that they underwent maintenance before the drills, including repaving to make sure the surface is flat, he said.

The nation also has two other sections on the highway designated as emergency runways — the Madou (麻豆) and Rende (仁德) sections in Tainan.

A section of Provincial Highway 26 that connects Pingtung County to Taitung County is also designated as an emergency runway, the ministry said.

The sections were chosen because of their proximity to nearby airports, it said.

During the Han Kuang exercise, the military would coordinate with Chunghwa Telecom to test emergency telecommunications capabilities, Ye said.

The annual exercise is held in two stages: computer-simulated war games and live-fire drills that are staged nationwide.

This year’s computer-simulated war games are to be held from April 22 to April 26.

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