By Huang Hsin-po and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA
This year’s annual Wan An air raid drill would see the expanded use of an air raid alert system, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The system, tested last year in central and southern Taiwan, would be tested between 1:30pm and 2pm from today to Thursday, depending on the region, sending text messages to simulate a missile strike warning, the ministry said.
The drill is to be held in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung, as well as Miaoli and Yilan counties today, while it will take place in Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as Pingtung and Kinmen counties, tomorrow, it said.
The drill is to move to Hualien, Taitung and Lianchiang counties on Wednesday and to central Taiwan and Penghu County on Thursday, the ministry added.
Pedestrians and drivers are required to clear the streets during the drill, it said, citing the Civilian Defense Act （民防法）, adding that those who do not comply could be fined from NT$15,000 to NT$150,000.
Held alongside the annual Han Kuang military exercises, the air raid drills test the coverage of civilian alert systems and check whether they operate normally, the ministry said, adding that they also aim to improve reaction times, the efficiency of evacuation procedures and local governments’ response capabilities.
Fighter jets and other military aircraft would tomorrow conduct emergency landing and takeoff drills on the Huatan section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway （Freeway No. 1） in Changhua County as part of the annual exercises, the ministry said.
The drill is part of live-fire exercises that are to be held from today to Friday.
It is an important part of combat training for the air force in the event of a Chinese attack, the air force said in a statement.
Four sections of Freeway No. 1 are designated as emergency runways in the event of war — the Huatan section, the Minsyong section in Chiayi, and the Madou and Rende sections in Tainan.
The military has staged takeoff and landing drills on each section, with the previous one in the Huatan section conducted in 2007.
The section of freeway between Changhua and Yuanlin （員林） is to be closed until Wednesday to facilitate the drill, Freeway Bureau section chief Peng Huan-ru （彭煥儒） said.
In preparation for the drills, 1,375 median barriers, 111 street lights and 77 road signs were removed from the section, the bureau said.
The emergency runways are each about 3km long, Peng said, adding that road maintenance, including resurfacing, has been carried out on the Huatan section in preparation for the drill.
The military’s three main fighter jets — the F-16A/Bs, Mirage 2000-5 and Indigenous Defense Fighter — would take part in the drill, along with E-2K airborne early warning aircraft, the air force said.
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s most important war games, test the combat capabilities of all branches of the armed forces in the face of the continuing military threat from China.
Landing markings for aircraft are pictured on a section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway in Changhua County yesterday. Photo: CNA