Taiwan simulates Chinese airport attack for defense

During this year's annual Han Kuang military exercises, Republic of China forces simulated an attack on the island's vital Taoyuan International Airport by Chinese forces.
Christopher McFadden
Image captured of the military exercise.


The annual Han Kuang Taiwanese military drills featured a simulated attack on the island's vast Taoyuan International Airport on July 26.

The first-of-its-kind for the Republic of China (ROC), the airport is a vital transport hub just outside Taipei's capital. The military drill was largely influenced by the failed Russian attempt to capture Ukraine’s Antonov airport in early 2022 and has been conducted to prepare Taiwan's military for a similar attack by China.

First-of-a-kind drill

Popular Mechanics reports that the drill included a series of AH-64 "Apache" attack helicopters and UH-60M "Blackhawk" helicopters to disgorge troops and take over the airport. The troops (roleplaying as Chinese forces) disembarked from the "Blackhawks," formed a protective circle, and then pretended to rush the airport once the helicopters departed.

According to CNN, Taiwanese troops practiced their response strategies while firefighters simulated extinguishing fires. The exercise also involved simulated air defense tactics for the island and operations at the Tri-Service Hengshan Military Command Center at Toad Mountain.

Should China conduct an invasion, it is believed that marines would arrive on the shores of Taiwan and capture nearby ports to facilitate the swift entry of ground forces onto the island. Helicopter air assault teams and paratroopers would likely be deployed to secure strategic locations like airfields.

An attack on Taoyuan International Airport is considered a certainty during such an invasion. The airport's proximity to the capital means it is of critical strategic importance to place large numbers of airborne troops to attempt a decapitation attack on Taipei. While risky, such a strike would reap huge rewards that would likely shorten the war.

China is widely believed to have the necessary military personnel to carry out such an attack too. They possess helicopters such as the "Harbin" Z-20 medium helicopter (similar to the UH-60 Blackhawk) and the "Xi’an" Y-20 transport. These helicopters would cross the Taiwan Strait in large groups, transporting Chinese paratroopers to their designated targets. The paratroopers would be from the six airborne brigades of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Airborne Corps, with each brigade comprising approximately 4,000 troops.

Preparing for invasion

Taiwan's military exercises, including airfield seizures, indicate they are likely closely monitoring the Ukraine War, military analysts believe. If they are, it is likely a similar determined defense would be mounted during such an attack. If it could be stalled or even repelled, this could, in turn, provide enough time for allies like the United States to respond accordingly. At least, that's the theory; China is also likely to be studying Ukraine with great interest. After all, as the adage goes, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

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