Taipei conducted its own drills to simulate its defenses against Chinese aggression, and showcased the F-16V fighter jet.
Taiwan unveiled its most advanced fighter jet, the F-16V, in a rare nighttime show after China’s unprecedented military drills around the island.
Chinese forces staged day of military exercises in the air and at sea in the Taiwan Strait this month after visit to self-governing island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation.
Taipei has been conducting its own drills to simulate its ability to defend against Chinese aggression, and on Wednesday, air force personnel loaded an F-16V fighter jet with a name US-made anti-ship missiles during a “ready to fight” exercise at an air base in eastern Hualien county.
Reporters were shown ground personnel how quickly they loaded weapons onto the F-16, including Boeing Co.’s Harpoon anti-ship missile.
Taiwan’s Air Force said six F-16Vs then took off for night training and reconnaissance missions, two of which were armed with missiles.
“In view of the threat posed by recent military exercises by the Chinese communist forces, we remain vigilant while establishing the concept of ‘anywhere battlefield and anytime training’… to ensure national security,” the air force said in a statement.
Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said that while Taipei condemned China’s actions in recent days, the situation presented a good opportunity for Taiwan’s forces to hone their skills.
“We will seize this opportunity to test all the training we normally do, and through that, improve our current methods and enhance our combat effectiveness,” he said.
“The ROC’s forces are confident, capable and determined to protect the safety of the Republic of China,” added Sun, using Taiwan’s official name.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the self-ruled island did not seek to provoke or escalate tensions with Beijing.
Taiwan is living under the constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the democratically ruled island as part of its territory will one day be taken over by force if necessary, needs.
Taipei has accused Beijing of using the trip of Pelosi – the highest-ranking US elected official to visit in decades – as a pretext to launch drills that would allow the country to rehearse for an invasion.
Taiwan has been upgrading its aging fighter fleet in recent years, as concerns about Beijing’s military action grow and its air force comes under constant pressure from more frequent Chinese attacks on the island’s air defense identification zone.
In November, the island deployed its first squadron of US-made F-16Vs – an upgraded and much more sophisticated version of their other F-16 fighters, dating back to 1990s.
The F-16V sale was approved by then-US President Donald Trump’s administration because of his feud with China on a number of issues, but his successor Joe Biden maintained the same support. for Taipei.
Hualien Air Force Base, where hangers cut out of the mountainside, have two pilots on duty at the same time sitting in their flight suits and able to stay airborne for up to six minutes.