Large-scale military exercises were held nationwide yesterday, with eight F-16 jets from Hualien Air Base conducting simulated long-range intercept missions over Taiwan.
The drill was primarily held to test the military’s combat readiness against an all-out Chinese aerial invasion, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The ministry on Monday said air exercises were aimed at sending a message to Beijing that Taiwan would do whatever it takes to protect its sovereignty and national security.
Photo: AFP / Ministry of National Defense
Units from all branches of the military took part in the exercises, which started at 5:30am with the F-16s scrambled to respond to a simulated attack by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), the ministry said.
The base conducted emergency landing drills at its backup runway as part of a scenario in which its main runway was damaged, the ministry said.
This drills, conducted without live ammunition, also tested the military’s ability to handle a joint air defense operation and make improvements based on the results, it said.
The drill came in the wake of PLAAF warplanes approaching Taiwan’s airspace at night for the first time on Monday last week, prompting the air force to scramble its fighters to intercept and monitor their movements.
PLAAF planes also briefly crossed the median line along the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s airspace on Feb. 10 before retreating to the western side of the line after Taiwanese aircraft warned them away by radio.
Chinese aircraft were spotted near Taiwan’s southern coast as they flew toward Western Pacific on Feb. 9 and again on Feb. 28.
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