The Tianlong Exercise, which was delayed a week due to poor weather, opened on Nov. 7 with aerial and ground technical drills.
At 8 a.m. on the 7th, F-16Vs take off from Hualien Air Force Base. The Tianlong Exercise was delayed a week due to weather, and will be held from the 7th to 11th. The exercise includes technical combat drills in the air and on the ground. On the 6th, 46 PRC aircraft including drones, Su-30s and JH-7s were spotted off of northern Taiwan.
Chen Kuo-ming, News Editor, Defence International: “China's Air Force is using its military fleet to intimidate Taiwan. It's like they're saying, "We have more aircraft and more types of aircraft, including jet fighters and drones, than you." ”
Su Tzu-yun, Director, Div. of Defense Strategy & Resources, INDSR: “JH-7s are equipped with new air-to-ground missiles. In the future, they may be a main source of attack with drones playing a complementary role.”
Su Tzu-yun says the PRC sent out older aircraft like JH-7s to reduce the logistical burden on more advanced aircraft. According to Su, this is evidence that PRC aircraft have an engine life span of just 12.5 percent compared to Taiwan's fighters. National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng says Taiwan is prepared for war at a moment's notice and the military will not wait for orders to set up combat zones.
Su Tzu-yun, Director, Div. of Defense Strategy & Resources, INDSR: “Combat zones can be like "mini-Hengshans." If Hengshan Command Center goes down, combat zones can spring up and operate independently.”
Su says this will help the military's overall existence and response. Chen Kuo-ming says frontline commanders all have independent authority to order the engagement of frontline troops. The military says it will not provoke China but it will fight to the end if it has to.