Taipei, March 28 (CNA) A military aircraft emergency landing and takeoff drill will be staged for the first time at a civilian airport in Taitung County in July during an annual live-fire military drill, a military source told CNA on Tuesday.
The drill, to be staged at Taitung Fengnian Airport, will simulate a scenario in which Taiwan's military airports and airstrips are severely damaged by enemy fire, requiring fighter jets to land at civilian ones or on the highway, the unnamed source said.
It will be the first time this type of drill has been staged in the history of the airport, which opened in 1981.
The drill will be part of the live-fire component of this year's Han Kuang military exercises.
The Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's major war games, have been held annually since 1984, in the form of live-fire drills and computerized war games, to test Taiwan's combat readiness in the face of a possible Chinese invasion.
This year's tabletop drills were expected to be staged sometime in May, while the live-fire component should take place in July, according to the source.
Meanwhile, the source said Taiwan's military is also looking to turn a section of Provincial Highway No. 9 in eastern Taiwan into an emergency landing strip.
It is eyeing a 14.5-kilometer section of the roadway connecting Guanshan Township and Luye Township in northern Taitung County to serve as an emergency runway, the source said.
Taiwan's only emergency provincial highway landing strip at present is a 2.26-kilometer section of Provincial Highway No. 1 near Jiadong and Fangliao in southern Pingtung County.
Other emergency landing strips are located on sections of Freeway No. 1 in Madou and Rende in Tainan, Huatan in Changhua County, and Minsyong in Chiayi County.
The Ministry of National Defense would not confirm the Taitung drill due to the sensitivity of the issue.
It said, however, that it regularly tests Taiwan's civilian airports and emergency landing strips to make sure they are capable of handling takeoff and landing missions in wartime.