TAIPEI --- Early this morning as the Chinese navy was preparing to spend the day conducting military drills in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s Air Force dispatched two F-16 Fighter jets armed with AGM-84 Harpoon missiles to simulate an attack on a high value maritime target off of Taiwan’s southeast coast.
Liberty Times reports that Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense dispatched two F-16s to test fire the AGM-84 Harpoon missiles using decommissioned ships as targets in waters southeast of Taiwan.
Meanwhile in the Taiwan Strait, China’s navy began a week of military drills near Dongshandao, around 55 km from Taiwan’s Kinmen, which will finish on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. according to China’s Guangdong Maritime Bureau.
After leaving the Hualien Air Base around 6:20 a.m., the pilots first carried out a targeting simulation with the Harpoon missile systems, without completing the test-fire. This phase of the drill also included evasive maneuvers and was completed by 7:20 a.m.
In the next phase of the drill, the two pilots simultaneously launched the Harpoon missiles at 8:35 a.m. Both successfully struck the decommissioned ship(s), which were assigned with names of China’s PLAN vessels, with one reportedly given the designation of the “Lioaning,” the name of China’s only currently commissioned aircraft carrier.
The two F-16s both safely returned to Hualien Air Base at 9:40 a.m. This is the first time since 2001 that the Taiwan Air Force has tested a AGM-84 Harpoon missile in flight, reports LTN.