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Taiwan Air Force F-16s carry out live-fire test of Harpoon missiles

Exercise Monday morning first in-flight test of Harpoon missiles since 2001

Taiwan Air Force F-16s

Taiwan Air Force F-16s (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Early this morning, as the Chinese navy was preparing to spend the day conducting military drills in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s Air Force dispatched two F-16 Fighter jets armed with AGM-84 Harpoon missiles to simulate an attack on a high-value maritime target off Taiwan’s southeast coast.

The Liberty Times reports that Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense dispatched two F-16s to test-fire the AGM-84 Harpoon missiles. Decommissioned ships were used as targets.

Meanwhile, in the Taiwan Strait, China’s navy began a week of military drills near Dongshandao, located around 55 km from Taiwan’s Kinmen. The exercises will finish on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m., according to China’s Guangdong Maritime Bureau.

After leaving Hualien Air Base around 6:20 a.m., the pilots first carried out a targeting simulation with the Harpoon missile systems without test-firing. This phase of the drill, which also included evasive maneuvers, was concluded by 7:20 a.m.

In the next phase of the drill, the two pilots simultaneously launched Harpoon missiles at 8:35 a.m. Both successfully struck the decommissioned ship(s), which were assigned the names of vessels belonging to China's People's Liberation Army Navy, with one reportedly receiving the designation of “Liaoning,” the name of China’s only commissioned aircraft carrier.

The two F-16s both safely returned to Hualien Air Base at 9:40 a.m. This is the first time since 2001 that the Taiwan Air Force has tested a AGM-84 Harpoon missile in flight, reports LTN.