Taiwan Navy Holds Live-Fire Drills With F-16s Dropping Bomb Nicknamed "The Hammer"

Here we go again: the Taiwan Navy is conducing a show of force live-fire drill Wednesday which involves a fleet of F-16 fighter jets simulating attacks on enemy ships off Taiwan's eastern coast, according to the country's national news agency CNA.

Crucially the exercises involve the live deployment of multiple MK-84 general purpose bombs, which are large American-made "heavy unguided bombs" which weigh about 2,000 pounds.

CNA: F-16 fighter jet takes off from Hualien Jiashan Air Base Wednesday.

CNA describes of the bomb in what's no doubt a hugely provocative signal to Beijing: "On impact, the MK-84 can blow apart buildings and other structures. It can penetrate metal up to 38 centimeters and concrete up to 3.4 meters, depending on the height from which it is dropped, and it causes lethal fragmentation across a radius of 370m."

The free-fall released MK-84 was used widely by the United States in Vietnam and is nicknamed "the Hammer" - given its significant destructive power and blast radius. As it's unguided it's also deemed among an arsenal of "dumb bombs".

Torpedo drills were also said to be part of these newest exercises, though there were no reported live torpedo firings. 

Mark 84 bombs, via AF.mil

But the Taiwan Navy is expected to carry out its first torpedo live-fire since 2007 on July 15, according to military sources cited in CNA.

Even throughout the pandemic China has of late made multiple intrusions in Taiwan via fighter jets and warships, also during provocative war games meant to answer Taipei and its US backers.