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Taiwan fighter jets conduct live fire drills in ongoing Tian Long exercise

Multiple aircraft carried out precision missile drills to maintain combat readiness

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Taiwanese F-16 pilot. (Military News Agency photo)

Taiwanese F-16 pilot. (Military News Agency photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Since the Air Force’s annual Tian Long exercise kicked off Monday (Oct. 19), various fighter jets have carried out precision missile firing drills aimed to reflect actual combat conditions.

On Tuesday morning (Oct. 20), two Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) armed with Tian Chien-1 short-range air-to-air missiles took off from Tainan to begin the day’s drills, according to Liberty Times. F-5E fighters simultaneously took off from Taitung’s Zhi Hang Air Force Base and launched flares in support of the IDFs.

After the IDFs conducted tactical maneuvers, they fired two successive waves of missiles and successfully hit all their targets.

F-16 fighter jets at Hualien’s Chia Shan Air Force Base armed with Sidewinder missiles also conducted live-fire exercises. Before taking off, ground crews carried out comprehensive checks of the aircraft, the Military News Agency reported.

As China has ramped up its military activities around Taiwan, drills such as the Tian Long and Han Kuang exercises are vital to maintaining a high level of combat readiness. Since Sept. 16, Chinese military aircraft have breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) 21 times.

The Tian Long exercise will go until Oct. 30 and includes competitions that test the Air Force’s air-to-ground, air-to-sea, air-to-air, and land-based combat readiness. In addition to F-16s and IDFs, Mirage 2000s and P-3Cs will also take part.