Taiwanese Armed Forces to Travel to US for PAC-3 Test-Fire Drills
Military expert Du Wenlong, director of the Chinese Military Culture Society, said earlier this month that, in the event of a conflict between Beijing and Taipei, Chinese forces would leave "no chance" for US intervention. "Before US forces arrive, we will have completed all our combat tasks," he said, noting forces would reach Taiwan within a day.
The Taiwanese Armed Forces, also known as the Republic of China Armed Forces, will soon hold a live-fire drill to test use of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), the US Army's premier air and missile defense system, according to a recent report in Taiwan's Chinese-language newspaper Liberty Times.
The drill will occur at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range, a military testing area in south-central New Mexico that has also been home to drills conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
Officials will be sending around 40 individuals to take part in operations surrounding the test.
During the drill, a target drone simulating a Chinese medium-range missile will be launched, giving members of the Taiwanese Armed Forces an opportunity to launch at least two Patriot missiles in response. Another projectile will be launched in the event that one of the missiles fails to intercept the target.
According to military officials who spoke with the outlet, Taiwan carries out these drills every two years, and they must be performed in the US, due to security concerns. Presumably, the next drill will occur during, or after, 2022.
However, a timeline for this particular trip has yet to be set, as it was not included in this year's budget.
Taiwan has spent a total NT$179 billion (US$6.4 billion) on six PAC-3 systems and three rounds of upgrades to modernize its PAC-2 systems, per the military officials.
News of Taiwan's continued drills in the US comes alongside escalating tensions between the US, Taiwan and China regarding the self-governing island's authority, and Washington's increased diplomatic interactions with Taipei.
Military expert Du Wenlong remarked last week that recent drills conducted by the People's Liberation Army in the East China Sea were likely "targeted" at Taiwan.
"Taiwan is the target," he said, noting that Beijing was sending a "serious warning" to Taipei regarding their military engagements with Washington.
More recently, Chinese officials have enumerated a full list of remedial demands and grievances it has with the US. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has since expressed that Washington does "not seek confrontation" with Beijing and is "committed to pursuing a constructive, stable relationship with China, including stronger crisis communications with the People’s Liberation Army."