Taiwan’s fighter jets landed on the highway as the annual exercise peaked

A Taiwanese flag flaps in the wind in Taoyuan
taiwan flag waving in the wind in taoyuan
FILE PHOTO: The flag of Taiwan flutters in the wind in Taoyuan, Taiwan, June 30, 2021. Reuters / Ann Wang

September 15, 2021

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s fighter jets landed on a makeshift runway on a highway strip overseen by President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, as the annual exercise reached its peak, skills that will be used to combat China’s attack and weaken Taiwan’s air bases. It will be necessary in case of targeting.

China is increasing its military pressure against the island it claims as “sacred” Chinese territory, including repeated exercises near Taiwan forcing a democratically elected government to accept Beijing’s sovereignty. hoping to do.

Tsai, re-elected by a landslide last year on a pledge to stand with China, has prioritized the modernization of Taiwan’s predominantly US-equipped military, turning it into a “porcupine”, which is highly mobile and vulnerable to attack. It is difficult for both.

Three fighter aircraft – an F-16, a French-built Mirage and a Ching-kuo indigenous defense fighter – as well as an E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft landed on a highway strip in rural southern Pingtung County that was specifically designed for rapid conversion. Designed to be straight and flat. From a road to a runway.

Tsai wrote on Facebook, citing Taiwan’s formal name, “Such superb combat skills and rapid and real action come from solid everyday training and also demonstrate the confidence of the China Air Force to defend its airspace.” does.”

Taiwan has five emergency highway runways throughout the island that can be pressed into service in the event of a Chinese attack, with air force bases removed, meaning air forces are still able to operate. Will be

Most of Taiwan’s airports are on its flat west coast, facing China, and are likely to come under heavy missile and aerial bombardment almost immediately in the event of war.

Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is home to two other airports, with hangars carved deeper into the rock, providing more solid protection.

The week-long Han Kuang exercises are taking place around Taiwan, among other exercises designed to deter Chinese aggression, protect critical infrastructure and night operations, although highway exercises are the most dramatic.

Taiwan’s air force scrambles on an almost daily basis to intercept Chinese aircraft, which fly over the island’s air defenses, mostly close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the top part of the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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