Taiwan on Tuesday put into service 15 Boeing Apache attack helicopters, nicknamed "tank killers," for its formidable firepower to defend against a possible invasion by "enemy landing corps."
Beijing has been demanding unification of the little island of Taiwan with mainland China. Its troops have been practicing invasion tactics in recent months. Many observers believe that China may take Taiwan by force if the island does not voluntarily accede.
Various media reported that a new squadron of 30 Apache helicopters was commissioned at Taiwan's northern Longtan Air Base increasing its number to a total of 29 aircraft for the 601st Brigade. The choppers had been sold by the United States to Taiwan as part of a $6.5 billion arms deal announced in 2008.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen described the commissioning of new helicopters as “an important milestone” for Taiwan’s “multiple deterrence,” to be prepared if an invasion were to occur. “By stationing the two squadrons in Longtan, the military aims to allow the brigade to intercept an enemy’s landing corps that could make inroads into Taiwan from the north coast,” South China Morning Post reported quoting an unnamed source.
The Taiwanese military was the first force outside the US and its principal allies to use the latest variant of Boeing's Apache AH-64 helicopters. In addition, Taiwan has approved the purchase of some 100 US made Abrams tanks.