Taiwan's combined arms battalions to debut in annual war games

07/12/2020 05:39 PM
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Soldiers load a cannon during 2019
Soldiers load a cannon during 2019's Han Kuang military exercises. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Taiwan's annual Han Kuang military exercises (漢光演習) that begin Monday will feature the debut of Taiwan's combined arms battalions.

The Han Kuang exercises, aimed at honing the capabilities of Taiwan's military in repelling a potential invasion from China, will last for five days, consisting of live-fire drills and computer-assisted tabletop training.

According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND), some of Taiwan's 22 combined arms battalions will see action for the first time in this year's exercise.

First established in Taiwan in September 2019, combined arms battalions bring together soldiers from infantry and cavalry units, liaison officers from different military branches, snipers, and unmanned aerial vehicle and missile operators, to form a unit capable of operating independently in the battlefield.

Another highlight in this year's exercises will come on Wednesday, when a Chien Lung-class attack submarine will test-fire an SUT heavyweight torpedo to sink a target ship, according to the MND.

This will be the first torpedo test by the Taiwanese Navy since 2007.

A Chien Lung-class attack submarine (front). CNA file photo
A Chien Lung-class attack submarine (front). CNA file photo

Reserve forces will participate in live-fire drills for the first time amid increased Chinese military activity around Taiwan, and special forces from the military, police and Coast Guard units will make their first appearance in simulating a rescue of government leaders held hostage by invading forces.

According to the MND, this year's Han Kuang exercises will proceed in three stages: maintaining combat capabilities upon the enemy's first wave of attack, pursuing decisive victory in littoral seas, and overwhelming the enemy in landing areas.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's military will not engage in landing drills involving inflatable crafts this year following a fatal accident in an inflatable dinghy on July 3 that left two soldiers dead and one in critical condition.

They will be done this year using amphibious assault vehicles.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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