Section of freeway to be used for jet drills, military says

HAN KUANG DRILLS::It will be the first time that the Chiayi section of Freeway No. 1 will be used to practice emergency jet landings and takeoffs

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - Page 3

The military is planning to use a section of a freeway in Chiayi County for its fighter jets to practice emergency landings and takeoffs as part of this year’s Han Kuang series of military exercises.

The drill is planned for September on the Minsyong section of the National Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), the military said.

The area is one of four sections of the freeway on which emergency runways have been built for use in the event of war, and the Chiayi one is to be used for practice for the first time, it said.

The military added that the drill is aimed at practicing aircraft emergency takeoffs and landings.

The plan has not been finalized, the military said.

In previous Han Kuang drills, similar exercises have been held on the emergency runways on three other sections of the freeway — Madou and Rende in Tainan County, and Huatan in Changhua County.

There is also an area on the Jiadong section of the provincial highway where military aircraft can take off and land in emergency situations, the military said.

In other news, four female coast guard personnel have been posted to Itu Aba (Taiping Island, 太平島), the largest island of the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), after the government raised the allowances for troops stationed on outlying islands to NT$20,000.

The four women, who include one officer, have been placed into the charge of the coast guard commander on Taiping Island and are to carry out the same duties as male personnel aboard patrol boats, including work to counter poaching.

A coast guard spokesman said that personnel on the island, including machine gun and rifle men, wear flak jackets and bulletproof helmets while on duty.

The Coast Guard Administration is recruiting people with special skills, such as those who can speak Vietnamese, so they can speak to fishermen working within Taiwan’s waters to warn them to move away, the spokesman said.

The agency is training more female coast guard personnel for duty on Taiping Island, which is 1,600km south of Kaohsiung Harbor, and is one of the islands in the South China Sea claimed by Taiwan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.