Fitting of 105-mm armored vehicle assault guns to start next month

12/05/2021 03:37 PM
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Three eight-wheeled Clouded Leopard armored vehicles (left) and a M60A3 tank (right). CNA file photo
Three eight-wheeled Clouded Leopard armored vehicles (left) and a M60A3 tank (right). CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's military will start installing locally-produced 105-mm assault guns onto its eight-wheeled Clouded Leopard armored vehicles next month, a military source told CNA Sunday.

After completing the installation, the military will begin conducting initial tests of the gun's capabilities from March next year, it added.

The source said that the domestically-made gun barrel had 60 percent less recoil than the imported barrels used previously, adding that its ammunition would also have better penetration.

Before allowing a new weapon to enter mass production, it must pass through the other stages of the Taiwan military's five-step new-weapon development process.

The process includes initial conceptual design, related engineering development, initial weapon testing, and a combat readiness test.

The scheduled test of 105-mm assault guns on the Clouded Leopard eight-wheeled armored vehicles in March will mark the third step in the five-step process.

After the assault guns have entered mass production, vehicles mounted with the guns will be deployed in the military's newly formed combined-arms battalions, the source added.

The Armament Bureau under the Ministry of National Defense has earmarked NT$769 million (US$27.77 million) to build two prototypes of these vehicles between 2019 to 2023.

The vehicles equipped with 105-mm assault guns are the latest generation of the Clouded Leopard armored vehicles family.

Officially called the Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Armament Bureau has so far commissioned the indigenous CM-32 and CM-33 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles and has already begun mass production of the CM-34 model.

The CM-32 and CM-33 models are armed with 40mm automatic grenade launchers, while the CM-34 versions are armed with the Orbital ATK 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster II cannon, which has an effective firing range of over 2,000 meters.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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