The complex at Chiashan airbase is located in Hualien and is said to be hidden away from Chinese surveillance. Taiwan put its deep-bunker hangars on full display during a military exercise, with rare images unveiling the hidden cave-like base containing fighter jets with advanced anti-ship Harpoon missiles. The photos, released on July 26, show the Taiwanese Air Force personnel loading weapons onto the F-16V Viper.
This was the same day as Taiwan’s second Han Kuang Exercise this year, an annual test conducted to assess the Taiwanese Armed Forces’ combat preparedness in the event of an attack from China.
The release of the images marks the first time the public has imagery from inside the bunker since being built in 1992.
Aviation journalist Roxy Choo tweeted: “Although media visits have been hosted at the Chiashan facility – with no pictures permitted, it is remarkable that the public has finally seen imagery from within after 30 years since it was completed in 1992.”
The Taiwanese military is known to have a strict policy over who can access the facility and who is allowed to capture pictures inside of it.
Ian Easton, senior director of the Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia, said: “The fighters are literally hidden behind a wall of granite.
Mr Easton added: “Taiwan has also built huge earthenwork revetments in front of the doors to the underground complex so that there is no clear line of sight for Chinese ballistic or cruise missiles.”
The hidden Chiashan bunker can reportedly house up to 160 advanced jet fighters.
It can also act as a secure command centre and an alternative headquarters for key figures in Government amid an all-out conflict.
It was reportedly built by carving out a granite mountain in Hualien, according to Mr Choo.
The tunnel complex associated with the Chiashan Air Force Base is just one of several underground bunker complexes on the island.
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The release of the images comes as tensions between China and Taiwan continue to heat up, with other indications that Taiwan is preparing for invasion also emerging.
The nation, which China is attempting to claim sovereignty over, has been conducting massive military drills in a major show of force in preparation for a Chinese invasion.
Taiwanese legislator Lo Chih-Cheng has claimed the self-governing island nation is militarily “capable of defending” itself from an invasion as it readies for a “worst-case” scenario.
He told DW News: “There is a possibility that China will learn from the lesson of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that China can take a short war in the Taiwan Straights.
“So we must make sure Taiwan will prepare ourselves for the worst-case scenario.
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“But more importantly we will make sure that China will think twice before they move on to these types of military actions against Taiwan.
“Taiwan is military capable of defending ourselves.”
And tensions this week have ramped up ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the Taiwan.
China warned of “consequences” over the Speaker of the United States House of Representative’s intended visit.
Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said: “If the US insists on going its own way and challenging China’s bottom line, it will surely be met with forceful responses. All ensuing consequences shall be borne by the US.”