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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan warplanes to take part in highway landing drill: source

ROC Central News Agency

09/06/2021 05:16 PM

Taipei, Sept. 6 (CNA) A scheduled military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing drill on a regular roadway will take place early in the morning on Sept. 15 and feature all three models of fighter jets in Taiwan's fleet, a military source told CNA on Monday.

The drill will begin at 6:30 a.m. on a 3-kilometer section of Provincial Highway No. 1 near Jiadong and Fangliao in Pingtung County, and feature an Indigenous Defensive Fighter (IDF), an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5, and a E-2K airborne early warning aircraft, the source said.

These aircraft will land on the highway in that order, the source said.

The emergency landing and take-off drill is aimed at testing each aircraft's ability to land on the roadway in the event that the airstrip of the nearby Pingtung Air Base is seriously damaged by enemy forces, the source said.

It will be the first time such a drill has been conducted on a so-called provincial highway, a regular roadway with stoplights and intersections that connect cities.

The Jiadong section being used for the drill is one of five built in Taiwan to accommodate emergency military jet landings and takeoffs in the event of a war.

The other emergency landing strips are all on National Freeway No. 1 -- the Madou and Rende sections in Tainan City, the Huatan section in Changhua County, and the Minxiong section in Chiayi County.

Exercises have previously been conducted on these four sections. Drills planned for the Jiadong section in 2011 were canceled due to poor weather conditions.

The drill will be part of the postponed live-fire component of this year's Han Kuang military exercises to be held from Sept. 13 to 17.

The Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's major war games, have been held annually since 1984, in the form of live-fire drills and computerized war games, to test Taiwan's combat readiness in the face of a possible Chinese invasion.

This year's tabletop drills were held from April 23 to 30. The live-fire exercises, meanwhile, were scheduled to start July 12 and run for five days.

Due to a domestic COVID-19 outbreak that started in mid-May, however, the military in mid-June decided to postpone the live-fire part of the drill to a later date.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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