• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan military prepares for annual Han Kuang drills

F-16V fighter jets fly over civilian airport in Taitung County

An F-16V jet flies low over the runway at Taitung County's Fengnian Airport Tuesday. 

An F-16V jet flies low over the runway at Taitung County's Fengnian Airport Tuesday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Air Force prepared for its annual Han Kuang military exercises by sending F-16V fighter jets and a C-130H transport aircraft to a civilian airport in Taitung County on Tuesday (July 11).

The Han Kuang 39 exercises, taking place from July 24-28, will feature the landing and takeoff of the two types of airplanes at Fengnian Airport on July 25. The following day, Taiwan’s main gateway, Taoyuan International Airport, will witness the simulation of an enemy attack, and on July 27, soldiers will conduct anti-landing drills on the beach in Bali, New Taipei City, per CNA.

On Tuesday around 6 a.m., a C-130H landed at Fengnian, simulated refueling, and took off again half an hour later, the Liberty Times reported. In the meantime, two F-16V jets came in low but did not land.

Han Kuang 39 will also include a part to be conducted at sea, with this year’s primary aim to prevent and counter an enemy blockade. Military experts have pointed out that instead of an outright invasion, China might also try to launch a blockade of Taiwan, surrounding the country to cut off supplies and prevent the United States from rushing into providing assistance.

This year’s round of Han Kuang exercises would involve the coordination of forces to counter a blockade and to prevent or repel enemy landings on the coast and at major airports, the Ministry of National Defense said. The July 26 drills at Taoyuan International Airport would be the first time Taiwan’s main airport was used as a staging ground for military exercises.

Han Kuang 39 will also include closing down ports, simulating a breakdown of communication systems, testing repairs, and refueling. The protection of basic infrastructure and cooperation against invading forces are at the top of the agenda for the five days of drills later this month, per CNA.