Taiwan Navy conducts mine drills amidst increasing Chinese military activity

Ministry of National Defense has prioritized acquisition of smart naval mines, fast minelayers

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Navy deploying mine (Taiwan Navy Facebook photo)

Navy deploying mine (Taiwan Navy Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Navy recently carried out mine drills at a time when the Chinese military is stepping up its activity in the Taiwan Strait.

The 192nd Fleet, also known as the Navy Minesweeper Fleet, conducted exercises in waters around Taiwan to train for the deployment, detection, and sweeping of mines, according to a Navy Facebook post last Friday (June 19). The annual drills are designed to improve the Navy’s deterrence capabilities in the event of invading Chinese naval vessels, CNA reported.

Judging from the Facebook photos, at least one of the mines used in the drills was the WSM-II, which was domestically produced by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has made the acquisition of next-generation smart naval mines and fast minelayers a priority, according to a military officer speaking on the condition of anonymity. This would increase the Navy’s ability to block Chinese troops from reaching Taiwan’s shores during a war, the officer said.

Smart naval mines use a variety of sophisticated sensors to help them distinguish between local and enemy forces, while fast minelayers can rapidly deploy mines in order to disrupt and delay invading forces, the source said.

The officer also pointed out the need for Taiwan to develop smart mines that can be used in shallow water to protect against amphibious vehicles and hovercraft. The country’s existing mines can only be used in deep waters, the officer said.

According to the source, Taiwan should also look to build more fast minelayers or outfit all Navy ships currently under construction with mine-laying tracks so they would also be able to deploy mines in emergencies.