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Military to hold emergency aircraft drill on freeway

ROC Central News Agency

2019/02/27 11:33:57

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) The military will stage an emergency aircraft takeoff and landing drill on a freeway as part of the annual Han Kuang series of exercises this year, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Wednesday.

The takeoff and landing exercise is expected to feature the nation's three main fighter aircraft -- the F-16 A/Bs, Mirage 2000-5s and Indigenous Defensive Fighters (IDFs) -- as well as E-2K airborne early warning aircraft, but the plan could still change, Major General Ye Gou-huei (葉國輝) of the MND announced at a briefing.

The drill, to be staged from 6:15 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. on the Huantan section of the No. 1 National Freeway in Changhua (彰化花壇段) on May 28, will test the military's emergency response capabilities should the country's main airports be damaged during wartime.

It will be among a series of live-fire exercises staged over five days from May 27 to 31 that are being held as part of the annual Han Kuang exercises, and will take place for the first time since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, Ye said.

The last time the drill was held was in September 2014 on the Minxiong section of the No. 1 National Freeway in Chiayi (嘉義民雄段), according to Ye.

These sections were chosen based on the military's coordination with the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau on maintenance of the roadway before the drill, including repaving it to make sure it is flat, Ye noted.

Aside from the two sections, Taiwan also has two other sections of its main north-south No. 1 National Freeway designated as emergency runways -- the Madou (麻豆) and Rende (仁德) sections in Tainan.

Another emergency runway is located on the Ping-E Highway (屏鵝公路) from eastern Pingtung County to Taitung County, according to the MND.

Those sections were chosen due to their closeness to nearby airports, the MND said.

Ye said, meanwhile, that during this year's Han Kuang, the military will also work with Chunghwa Telecom Co. to test the nation's emergency telecommunications capabilities in the event of major telecommunications infrastructure being destroyed.

The annual Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's most important war games, test the combat capabilities of all branches of the armed forces in the face of a continued military threat from China.

It is annually held in two stages: first with computer-aided war games before live-fire drills are staged across the country.

This year's computer-aided war games will be held from April 22 to April 26.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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