TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s annual live-fire Han Kuang exercises (漢光演習) kicked off Monday with a simulated attack by China, to test the combat readiness of Taiwan’s military and reserve forces.
At the start of the exercise, all reservists were instructed to report before 8 a.m. to various sites around the country, while some auto repair plants, shipyards and aircraft hangers were temporarily commandeered for the games.
In the response to the simulated attack by the People’s Liberation Army of China, Taiwan military planes, which are usually deployed on the island’s west coast, flew to Chiashan Air Base on the eastern side, to avoid a direct hit by Chinese missiles and bombardments.
As part of the drill, defense troops responded to enemy air raids, navy ships set sail, and armored vehicles moved into culverts and under bridges, where they were covered with multispectral camouflage nets.
This year’s live-fire Han Kuang exercises are focused on three main areas, starting with a test of Taiwan’s armed forces ability to repel the enemy in the first wave of an attack.
The other two areas, which will be tested over the next few days, involve fighting to defeat the enemy in nearshore zones, and the neutralization of any remaining enemy forces on beaches and in other landing areas.
One of the highlights of this year’s Han Kuang exercises is the participation for the first time of Taiwan’s approximately 22 combined arms battalions, which were established in September 2019 and comprise infantry and cavalry units, snipers, liaison officers from three military branches, and unmanned aerial vehicle and missile operators.
With the capability of operating independently during battle, the battalions will take part in anti-landing drills in the last stage of the exercises to test their combat readiness and their commanders’ leadership of troops from different military branches.
This year’s exercises will also include the test-firing of a torpedo by a Chien Lung-class attack submarine and a drill that simulates the rescue of Taiwan government leaders taken hostage by invading forces.
Meanwhile, the Han Kuang computer-simulated war games will be held Sept. 14-18 to hone the skills of commanders at different levels to make decisions during battle.