Taiwan’s air force showcased its anti-aircraft capabilities yesterday, saying it is ready for action 24 hours a day, as the nation faces sustained pressure from Chinese military drills.
China has been carrying out exercises around the nation after a visit earlier this month by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was followed by five US lawmakers on Sunday and Monday.
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei, and sent warships and fighter jets close to Taiwan.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
On a government-organized trip for media to Taiwan’s key east coast air base in Hualien, the air force showed off its anti-aircraft systems, including the domestically developed Tien Kung III (Sky Bow III) surface-to-air missiles.
Also on display was the Oerlikon GDF-006 35mm anti-aircraft gun, which officers demonstrated how to set up and how it was aimed at incoming aircraft.
Air defense crews said the increased tensions, including the recent Chinese drills, did not faze them.
“We were not nervous at all at that time, as our regular training is prepared for all-day, 24-hour missile operations,” air defense officer Chen Te-huan said. “When the Chinese military acted, we were already well prepared.”
Although Taiwan’s air force has been at the front lines of responding to China’s drills, including regularly scrambling aircraft to ward off Chinese fighters that get close to the nation, the government has stressed its “calm response,” and there have been no clashes.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense said that 51 Chinese aircraft and six Chinese ships had been detected operating around Taiwan yesterday as Beijing continued its military activities.
That included 25 aircraft that crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line or flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone, it said.
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