First cross-branch live-fire drill in two decades to be held next week

The China Post

By Joseph Yeh–The first ever cross-military branches live-fire exercise in more than two decades, featuring a mock confrontation between Army and Marine troops, is scheduled to be held next week, Taiwan’s military announced yesterday. A Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said the drill held between the Army’s 298th Motorized Infantry Brigade and the 99th Marine Brigade will be held next Monday through Friday. “This is the first of such major live-fire drills joined by different branches of the armed forces since the early 1990s,” Major General Hau Yi-chi (郝以知) of the MND’s Joint Warfare Planning Department said at a regular briefing yesterday. The military previously called off such large-scale cross-branch drills because of a streamlining plan that had significantly downsized local troops, he said. The resumption of such exercises is done to test the armed forces’ combat readiness in the face of possible invasions, Hau noted. The scope of the drill will cover a major part of the country’s west coast from central Taichung to southern Pingtung County. The military exercise will also be joined by all tri-services troops, he noted. According to the scenario, the 99th Marine Brigade will serve as the intruders who land the island from shores in Pingtung before heading northbound to fight with the defenders, the 298th Brigade, in central Taiwan. Emergency Landing Drill on Highway

As a part of the joint military exercise, a military aircraft emergency landing drill will also be held at a highway in southern Pingtung County, he noted. This is the first time a wartime landing drill will take place at the Chia Tung Section (佳冬) at Freeway No. 1 ever since it has been renovated in 1986 to serve as an emergency landing and takeoff area during wartime, Hua said. A total of eight kinds of military aircraft are expected to land and take off from the freeway section during the exercise set to take place on Nov. 17. The military airplanes to participate the drill include F-16s, locally made IDF fighters, Mirage 2000s, Army OH-58D scout helicopters and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, as well as CH-47 transport helicopters. Speaking at the same press conference, Major General Wang Hsuan-chou (汪旋周), director of the combat training department under the Air Force Command Headquarters, said the military is ready for the exercise Previous newspaper reports said that the nearby banyan trees and two temples located close to the highway section could obstruct the landing of military jets during the upcoming drill. But Wang said the problems were all solved.