New weapon systems to join Han Kuang exercises
Newly acquired and locally developed weapon systems will be joining this year’s live-fire drill as part of the annual Han Kuang series of military exercises, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced yesterday.
Speaking during a news briefing, Maj. Gen. Zhong Shu-ming ( ), director of the MND’s Joint Operation Division, said new weapons systems to be deployed in the live-fire drills of the “Han Kuang No. 31” exercises this September include the P-3C sub-hunting aircraft that Taiwan previously bought from the U.S.
During the drills to be held from Sept. 7 to 11, locally developed weapons systems include the Tuo Jiang ( ) and the Pan Shih ( ) military vessels will also be joining Zhong said.
The Tuo Jiang is the country’s first locally designed stealth missile corvette while the Pan Shih is a locally developed supply vessel.
To test the armed forces’ defense capability to fight off simulated invasions by mainland Chinese forces, Zhong said fiveday-exercise will be staged at the island’s nearby seas, northern
exercises, Hsinchu drill ground and southern Pingtung drill ground, separately.
As before, Zhong said the ministry has invited President Ma Yingjeou to preside over the September drill. This will mark the last time Ma will preside over such an annual drill during his tenure as he is scheduled to leave office next May.
The Han Kuang series of military exercises — Taiwan’s most important annual war games involving all branches of the military — is staged annually in two stages, with the computer-aided war games already held in May and the live-fire drill to be staged next month.
It is the second consecutive year that the two-part drills are to be held in May and September.
Before 2014, the Han Kuang military drills were also held in two stages, but with live-fire military drills normally held in April and computer-aided war games set for July.
However, the MND has rescheduled the two stages of the annual series of exercises since last year with the computer-aided war games to be held in May with the live-fire drill moved back to September.
The MND previously explained that the decision was made to avoid the nation’s flood season that begins in May and runs until October every year.
During theses months, natural disasters such as typhoons and floods often hit the country. The R.O.C. Armed Forces have to stay prepared because they are often mobilized to carry out disaster prevention and post-disaster relief missions, the MND said.