Taiwan holds joint air drill featuring simulated air scramble

03/24/2020 02:35 PM
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An F-16 Fighting Falcon scrambles to take off from Hualien Air Base on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Military News Agency.
An F-16 Fighting Falcon scrambles to take off from Hualien Air Base on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Military News Agency.

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Armed Forces held large-scale military exercises throughout the country on Tuesday, with eight F-16 fighter jets from Hualien Air Base conducting simulated long-range intercept missions above 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 (MND) said.

Units from all branches of the military took part in the joint exercises starting at 5:30 a.m., with the simulated air attack by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) the main highlight of the day, according to the ministry.

The drill came amid recent missions by Chinese warplanes flying near Taiwan's airspace, resulting in Taiwan's Air Force having to scramble its jet fighters to intercept and monitor their movements.

On Feb. 10, Chinese military planes briefly crossed the Taiwan Strait median line and entered Taiwan's airspace, but later retreated to the western side of the line after Taiwanese military aircraft, including F-16 fighters, issued multiple radio warnings.

The incident occurred a day after the PLA planes were monitored flying long-distance flights close to the island's southern coast and into the Western Pacific.

Other similar incidents also took place on Feb. 28 and March 17.

Photo courtesy of the Military News Agency
Photo courtesy of the Military News Agency

On Monday, the Defense Ministry said the air exercises were also being held to send a strong signal to Beijing that the military will go all out to protect Taiwan's sovereignty and national security.

According to the MND, preparations were made by the ground crew at Hualien Air Base before F-16 fighters scrambled in a simulated emergency sortie at the crack of dawn.

The air base, meanwhile, also carried out emergency landing drills on its backup runway to simulate its main runway being damaged, the MND said.

This training mission, carried out without live ammunition, was also designed to test the Armed Forces ability to handle a joint air defense operation, and make improvements based on the results, it said.

(By Matt Yu and Ko Lin)

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