TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In light of the increasing tensions created by China’s political campaign of political suppression, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) is taking added precautions against the possibility of an attack.
It was recently reported that the air force’s fleet of P-3C Orion anti-submarine bomber aircraft, which were commissioned into service in December 2017, will be separated into smaller contingents. The 12 Taiwanese P-3C bombers have previously all been located at a base in southern Taiwan's Pingtung.
However, in response to various tactical considerations, some of the aircraft are being transferred to a base on Taiwan’s east coast in Hualien County, reports Liberty Times.
The decision for the transfer was made to decrease the likelihood of one strike potentially wiping out the P-3C Orion fleet, a crucial anti-submarine asset for the MND.
Likewise, with the expanding scope of PLAN activity into the Pacific over the past year, Taiwan’s east coast is also considered at higher risk that is has been in decades previous. With bombers stationed in Hualien, the response time to meet potential threats from Chinese submarines or naval vessels on the Pacific coast can be significantly reduced.
Originally, when the planes were purchased under the Ma administration, there were plans to divide the fleet among separate bases in three counties: Hualien, Taoyuan, and Pingtung. However, despite disagreement among MND officers, the decision was finally made to store them all in Pingtung.
Now the military’s top brass has reconsidered that decision, and some of the aircraft are now set to be deployed in Hualien, although reports to do not specify a precise number.
Liberty Times reports that the airbase in Hualien currently does not have an adequate hangar to store the P-3C aircraft, so the construction of necessary facilities will begin shortly.