Taiwan military holds rehearsal drill ahead of 36th Han Kuang exercise

Rehearsal drill featured various military hardware, newly formed joint battalions

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Army soldiers firing a Howitzer round at Ta Chia river. 

Army soldiers firing a Howitzer round at Ta Chia river.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan military held live-fire rehearsal drills at Taichung’s Ta Chia river and Chia Nan beach on Thursday (July 2), ahead of the 36th Han Kuang exercise.

Over the course of the drill, Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) and F-16 vipers from the Air Force soared through the sky, while a Navy Chi Yang-class warship sailed near the shore and Thunderbolt 2000 rocket launchers fired at the imaginary enemy, Liberty Times reported.

Army helicopters including AH-1W SuperCobras, AH-64E Apaches, and OH-58D Kiowas each fired at sea targets. Meanwhile, ground forces were equipped with M109 and M110 self-propelled artillery, M60A3 Patton tanks, and CM-34 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles.

Taiwan’s Armed Forces began promoting a “joint battalion” concept last year to strengthen the autonomous combat capabilities of battalion-level units consisting of elements from the three military branches. These joint battalions will participate in the Han Kuang exercise for the first time in order to test their combat effectiveness.

Chief of the General Staff Huang Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) oversaw the drill and requested the officers and soldiers be trained in accordance with the current regional situation and the drill be executed in line with up-to-date battle conditions. He also demanded that joint battalions be utilized to their full potential.

The Tenth Army Command stated the last rehearsal drill will take place on Thursday (July 9). The Han Kuang exercise, which President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will preside over, will start on July 16.