China: March 14, 2001


Taiwan has completed a second underground aircraft shelter, this one at Chihhang Air Base in Taitun. Like the first such base at Chiashan, the base is carved into a mountain and can contain dozens if not hundreds of aircraft. The runways face a huge opening protected by reinforced concrete doors, and pilots landing at the base have the unnerving experience of flying directly into the side of a mountain and into a hole less than 100 feet high. The bases (at least two more are under construction) are completely self-contained with their own power supplies, barracks, mess facilities, and hospitals. They are designed to keep the Taiwan Air Force in the fight after a massive Chinese missile attack on their usual bases. --Stephen V Cole


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