This year’s Han Kuang military drill will be held on the southern beaches and the surrounding sea of the Penghu Islands with live fire exercises performed by all armed services, military sources said.
In past years, the Han Kuang drills mobilized actual forces, but did not include live firing exercises, a decision which the ministry said was motivated by environmental concerns, and was criticized as detracting from national defense.
According to officials, the exercise area is to include Dongji (東吉), Siji (西吉), Donyuping (東嶼坪), Siyuping (西嶼坪), General (將軍嶼) and Hujing (虎井) islets.
Meanwhile, the military is negotiating with local residents in an attempt to minimize inconvenience to the public, the officials said.
Sources said that the military plans to stage the drill in Penghu County because of the drastic decrease in military forces stationed on the island.
The drill is to focus on the rapid deployment of military forces from Taiwan proper to Penghu to prepare for a scenario in which China’s People’s Liberation Army attacks strategic facilities on Penghu Island via ballistic missiles and fighter jets, and attempts to breach the line of defense by landing armed forces on the southern beaches of Penghu Island, engaging with the garrison there.
The drill will also call on reserve forces to enhance their capabilities to “assemble on receipt of orders,” sources said.
The air force would stage a live fire exercise using the F-16, the Taiwan-made Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) and the F-5E jets. The navy would also be conducting exercises with Cheng Kung-class and Chin Chiang-class frigates, as well as the AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter, the S70-C anti-submarine helicopter and Thunderbolt 2000 multiple rocket launcher system. A varied assortment of military artillery and machinegun systems would also be used, sources said.