First day of Han Kuang Exercise involves aircraft drills

(Photo courtesy of CNA/軍聞社)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taiwan military launched an annual major training drill, known as the Han Kuang Exercise No.36 (漢光36號演習), on July 13.

The drills simulate attacks by the People’s Liberation Army, in order to enhance Taiwan’s ability to protect and preserve combat power in an event of an attack from China.

According to Chinese-language media, exercises include military planes flying over Western Taiwan, transport planes taking off, and emergency landings at the Hualien Jiashan Base (空軍花蓮佳山基地).

In 1979, after the United States broke official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in favor of economic ties with  China, Taiwan military began to build a self-sustainable defense system that could both attack and retreat.

Because the important air force bases at the time were within the range of the PLA’s ground-to-surface missiles, the “underground defense” project was initiated.

The Hualien Jiashan Base initiated construction in 1984 and was completed in 1992. In the modern-day, the base serves as a secret defense fortress in Eastern Taiwan.

The tunnel at Jiashan Base serves as an important protector of military aircraft, as the iron gate of the tunnel, weighing 8 tons, can be opened within 60 seconds of the attack command being received.

Due to national security concerns, all areas inside the tunnels have been classified as confidential.