Focus Taiwan App

DEFENSE/Han Kuang drills to test troops' multi-point defense capabilities: Experts

07/07/2024 08:43 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Han Kuang drills in 2023 (CNA file photo)
Han Kuang drills in 2023 (CNA file photo)

Taipei, July 7 (CNA) The military has selected 12 locations including airports and beaches which will likely be used for anti-aircraft landing drills during the live-fire component of the annual Han Kuang exercises later this month, with a focus on testing troops' multi-point simultaneous defensive capabilities in real combat scenarios, experts said Sunday.

Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport, Taipei Port, Guandu Plain A and B, Guanyin Beach, Jiben Beach, Beipu Beach, Penghu Beach, Siahusi, Tainan Airport and Jianan Beach will be used for the "annual military exercises and training involving the use of helicopters," according to a recent live-fire notice issued by the Maritime and Port Bureau.

It is thought these locations, picked mainly due to their close proximity to critical infrastructure, will be used to hold anti-aircraft landing drills, according to military experts.

Previously, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced the airspace around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) is set to be closed for an hour on July 25 and July 23, respectively, due to the Han Kuang military exercises.

The military conducted anti-aircraft landing drills at the Taoyuan airport for the first time during last year's Han Kuan exercises,

Shu Hsiao-huang (舒孝煌) and Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), research fellows at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR) told CNA Sunday that the above-mentioned locations are in the vicinity of ports, airports, beaches, political and economic centers or oil depots, and provide areas for helicopters to take off and land.

As such, they believe the exercises will aim to prevent China from capturing such locations and then seizing ports and other facilities.

For instance, Taipei Port, which is close to Guandu Plain, has been an important defensive stronghold in various past exercises because if Chinese forces were to capture the plain, they could advance toward the headquarters of the nation's major political institutions, according to the two experts.

Drills are set to be held at Guanyin Beach and Jianan Beach because they are close to Taoyuan airport and Taichung Ching Chuang Kang Airport, respectively, they indicated.

Drills will also be conducted at Penghu Beach because if the outlying Penghu were occupied, it could serve as a military supply base for Chinese troops, they said.

Regarding the possible attack scenario of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Su said China's military currently has about 1,000 helicopters, and its fleet is as large as the U.S. military.

He noted that if a helicopter took off from Penghu, which is about 24 nautical miles (44.45 kilometers) away from Taiwan Proper, it could reach the coast of Taiwan in about 10 minutes; whereas, if it flew across the Taiwan Strait, it would take about one hour.

Therefore, if the above-mentioned locations are attacked, they may be occupied and controlled by the PLA, and then a second group of PLA troops could unload heavy equipment for another wave of attacks, Su said.

This year's exercises mainly highlight the overall defense strategy of regional defense rather than beach point defense and the anti-landing scenario is not concentrated in one place as in the past but features "multi-point simultaneous defense," Su said.

In addition, the focus of defense is on surrounding airports, ports, or other key military infrastructure, which highlights the importance of regional defense and can also strengthen the resilience of defense during wartime through peacetime drills, he added.

This year's Han Kuang exercises will be closer to actual combat than in previous years, Su said, adding that although there are still some combat scenarios, various simulated "situations" will not be announced in advance to ensure officers and soldiers have to deal with situations that are closer to actual combat and react to combat scenarios.

This year's live-fire segment of the Han Kuang exercise, the largest annual training exercise conducted by Taiwan's military and held since 1984, will take place from July 22 to July 26 and focus on unscripted and real combat drills, according to the MND.

The exercises will not feature live-fire drills on Taiwan proper. However, troops stationed on the outlying islands will use live ammunition.

Meanwhile, the live-fire drills will focus on testing rules of engagement (ROE), testing the response of troops to decentralized command, checking combat effectiveness at all times and nighttime training, according to the ministry.

(By Matt Yu and Evelyn Kao)


View All
We value your privacy.
Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.