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Taiwan military holds largest live-fire drills in five years off east coast

Navy and Air Force warded off simulated attacks on Suao and Hualien

A Mirage 2000 jet participates in live-fire drills off Taiwan's east coast Wednesday May 22.

A Mirage 2000 jet participates in live-fire drills off Taiwan's east coast Wednesday May 22. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The military mobilized 22 ships and 22 aircraft to hold its largest seabound live-fire drills in five years off Taiwan’s east coast Wednesday morning (May 22).

The maneuvers came amid the repeated passage of Chinese warplanes and Navy ships close to Taiwan on their way to the Pacific Ocean or to the South China Sea.

The Taiwanese ships participating in Wednesday’s drills included two former Perry-class frigates which had entered service just last November and 12 missile speedboats, the Central News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, in the air, the three main pillars of Taiwan’s Air Force were out in full force, with the Mirage 2000, the F-16 and the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) also performing over the Pacific skies east of Taiwan.

Wednesday’s drills were the largest at sea since the Han Kuang 30 exercises held in 2014 and since the Democratic Progressive Party returned to power in 2016, reports said.

The drills simulated resistance against an enemy attack on the naval port of Suao in northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County while enemy planes were crossing the Taiwan Strait toward northern Taiwan.

Taiwanese Navy ships were leaving Suao and Hualien to join forces to rebut the attack, according to the CNA reports.

The items on the program included anti-aircraft defense, joint Air Force and Navy action against submarines, the firing of missiles against aircraft and ships, and the testing of Navy supply lines.

One of the war scenes enacted Wednesday had four IDF jets simulating an enemy attack on Hualien port, with four F-16 jets responding and four Mirages countering eight missile speedboats.

During the drills, the three types of Taiwanese fighter jets also fired off Sidewinder, Magic and Sky Sword I missiles, CNA reported.