Fri, May 31, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Military tests its newest weapons

CHANGING THREAT:Previous Han Kuang drills focused on beach landings, but that changed this year, because China has been developing over-the-horizon capabilities

Staff writer, with CNA

Troops fire artillery guns in Pingtung County yesterday during a simulated amphibious assault at the Han Kuang exercises.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

All of the nation’s most cutting-edge weapons systems were yesterday featured in a large-scale anti-landing drill in Pingtung County that involved all branches of the military as part of the annual Han Kuang military exercises.

The air-sea drill began at about 9am, simulating a sea invasion by China’s People’s Liberation Army with air support.

The military deployed F-16 jets and Indigenous Defense Fighters, Knox-class frigates and the Thunderbolt-2000 — a new multiple-launch rocket system — to deter the invading force.

AH-1W Cobra and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, and CM11, CM22 and eight-wheeled CM-34 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles were also deployed.

The first appearance of the CM-34 was a highlight, as it passed testing in October last year before entering mass production.

A total of 284 of the vehicles are expected to be made in the next few years.

A military official previously said that the CM-34 has a 30mm cannon with a range of 2km, better anti-tank capabilities than the CM-32 and can fire several rounds in rapid succession.

Another highlight was a demonstration by a squad of nine female military personnel, who fired M110 203mm self-propelled guns.

The squad leader told reporters that she was extremely proud to take part in the drill.

Yesterday’s drill was meant to test the military’s asymmetric warfare capabilities due to the growing military threat from China, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

Over the past few decades, Taiwan’s armed forces focused on beach landings, but that emphasis has now been broadened, because China has been developing expeditionary warfare and over-the-horizon amphibious assault capabilities that pose a threat all along Taiwan’s coastline, a source said.

The strategy shift means that the military would put greater emphasis on boosting the defensive capabilities of the air force and navy rather than making the army the priority, the source said.

The annual Han Kuang exercises are held in two stages. The first comprises computerized war simulations, while the second is a five-day live-fire exercise held around the nation.

The 35th edition of the annual drill, involving 3,000 personnel, began on Monday and ends today.

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