Road Runners

The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) took part in the massive wartime drill, Exercise Han Kuang, across the island of Taiwan last month. The four day event tests the readiness of the Taiwanese Armed Forces to repel any potential Chinese invasion, and involves all four services, including the Marines, of the armed forces.

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One of the main highlights of the exercise is the alternate runway exercise, where combat aircraft F-16, Mirage 2000, IDF Ching Kuo and for the first time E-2K Hawkeye, utilises a highway for landing and take off. They were later rearmed and refuelled outfield by ground crew before taking off. Taiwan has four undisclosed highway earmarked for aircraft runway in event of war.

Now speaking of alternate runway exercises, Singapore’s own Exercise Torrent was last held in 2008, and unlike those of Taiwan outfield deployment, the Lim Chu Kang Road alternate runway is situated next to Tengah Airbase, where the aircraft were deployed from and also refuelled and rearmed. Alternate runways allows air force commanders to continue recover and launch air assets even after the main runways is damaged from attacks or downed aircraft. There hasn’t been a Exercise Torrent since 2008, and the after arrival of F-15SG and G550 AEW aircraft. It will be however, interesting to see how the G550, with a wingspan of 28m (4m wider than the E2C) navigate the facilities around Tengah

Credits: Google Earth Credits: Google Earth

Urban legend also has it that the road along East Coast Parkway expressway might also be an alternate runway, given its straight roads, and removable centre barricades. The road, measuring around 2.2km heading 068, interestingly has two symmetrical car parks on both sides, hinting of a run-off of some sort. If it really is a runway, the lack of shelter, proper facilities would suggest it might just be an refuel/rearm station, while waiting for the airbase repair their damaged runway. Else, its proximity to the Bedok Camp, home of the heliborne Guards soldiers, would also probably suggest it being a huge helicopter strip for rapid deployment.

Other known alternate (sort of) runway is the Pulau Sudong runway. Situated in the Southern Islands of Pulau Sudong, the runway comes with its tower and facilities, and used for emergencies and most notably for the unflagging of the State Flag for the National Day Parade.

Ps: I have been quite busy with numerous projects. Writing will slow down but not halted. Thank you for your support!

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