The navy, air force and army of Taiwan conducted extensive military drills on Tuesday as part of the “Lien Hsiang” exercises – which also involved a mock invasion of the island.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Tuesday that it had conducted large-scale military exercises throughout the country that began around 5:30 a.m. on March 24 with simulated air attacks that were supposed to represent strikes from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
A total of eight F-16 fighter jets of the Republic of China Air Force departed Hualien Air Base that morning and, during a number of missions, practiced intercepting long-range attacks from a mock Chinese aerial invasion. According to the Taipei Times, aircraft also practiced making emergency landings on the base’s backup runway in the event that the main runway was damaged and needed to be repaired by ground crews.
Anti-aircraft drills were conducted by the Republic of China Army and Navy, which deployed Kidd-class destroyers and frigates near the island’s coast.
Just last week, several PLAAF J-11 fighter jets and KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft were intercepted and driven away by Taiwanese jets after crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
“After our air reconnaissance and patrol aircraft responded appropriately, and broadcast [an order] to drive them away, the Communist aircraft flew away from our Air Defense Identification Zone,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.
The MND spotted PLAAF aircraft near Taiwan on several occasions last month, including on February 9, 10 and 28, according to the Taipei Times. The MND has said that these “targeted” drills are “concrete evidence of provocations and threats.”
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