Taiwan hones anti-invasion skills in annual drill

Exercise includes anti-abduction training for special forces in case the island's president is taken hostage

Asia Times
Date: July 14, 2020
By: Frank Chen

A US-made F-16V fighter releases flares during a drill in Taichung, Taiwan on July 2, 2020. Photo: Taiwan Defence Ministry via AFP

The Taiwanese military put itself on a “wartime” footing this week for its annual island-wide drill repelling a mock invasion by China.

Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, the 188,000-strong force is sticking to its decades-long tradition of staging the exercise with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the avowed opposing force. The codename of the drill, held since 1984, is Han Kuang, meaning recovering lost territories in Mandarin.

Taiwanese papers reported that the military had mobilized almost all its airmen as well as reserve forces on Monday, day one of the war game. They simulated missions removing personnel from hostile areas after the “red group,” a squadron playing the role of a PLA spearhead for the drill, took control of major airbases along the island’s mainland-facing coast.

Footage aired by Taiwanese media showed fighters and other warplanes taking off from airbases in Taichung and Kaohsiung and flying east for shelter, before these facilities fell to the advancing red group. This is part of the air force’s tactics to preserve the most potent assets and avoid head-on dogfights with the enemy when an aerial invasion is irreversible.

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