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Taiwan's Army to purchase 25,000 upgraded rifles: Source

04/06/2024 08:29 PM
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An army member demonstrates the capabilities of the T112 assault rifle on Saturday. CNA photo April 6, 2024
An army member demonstrates the capabilities of the T112 assault rifle on Saturday. CNA photo April 6, 2024

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) The Republic of China (Taiwan) Army is expected to purchase 25,000 upgraded assault rifles next year, according to a military source close to the matter.

The T112 assault rifles that the Army will purchase debuted last year at the 2023 Taipei Aerospace & Defense Industry Exhibition and back then were designated as XT112.

They passed operational testing in November last year, the source said.

After the exhibition, the rifle underwent a number of minor adjustments, including tweaks to the magazine release button and an improved sight that allows the user to measure the distance of a target, the Armaments Bureau told CNA in a recent debriefing about progress on the development of small arms and light weapons.

The entirely domestically developed and built rifle features numerous improvements over the existing T91 and T65K2 models, according to Lieutenant Lee Chien-ting (李建霆), who is involved in the research and development of the rifle at the bureau.

The barrel of the T112 rifle is polygonal and thickened compared with the T91 and T65K2 models, resulting in the T112's improved accuracy of groups of 9.8 cm at 100 m compared to the T91's groups of 14.5 cm at 100 m, Lee said.

The barrel also boasts a longer life expectancy of 10,000 rounds, compared with 6,000 rounds with previous models.

In addition, the selector lever, the magazine release button, and cocking handle latch, are present on both sides of the T112 to allow easy access regardless of the user's dominant hand, whereas on the previous models, they are only present on one side, he said.

A T112 assault rifle. CNA photo April 6, 2024
A T112 assault rifle. CNA photo April 6, 2024

The Pic rail is built to international specifications to allow for greater freedom for mounting accessories such as grenade launchers, sights and laser aiming modules, which can now be mounted all along the rail according to the user's needs, whereas on previous models these accessories can only be mounted on fixed positions, he said.

The foregrip contains a retractable bipod that snaps into place when needed, allowing the user to shoot at low postures, he said.

The magazine has a see-through case that allows the user to check the ammunition level at a quick glance and is made of a composite plastic material, making it more durable and less prone to jamming compared to the aluminum magazine on the T91 or T65K2, he said.

Furthermore, the tip of the steel flash suppressor comes with indentations, meaning it can be used as a melee weapon, a window breaker and a wire cutter, Lee said, adding that while such flash suppressors are only present on existing rifle models by request, they will be standard issue on the T112s.

The rifle can be configured to fire bursts of two rounds instead of three, as data compiled by the United States armed forces indicates the latter configuration lowers accuracy, resulting in a waste of rounds, Lee said.

Meanwhile, the T112 sniper rifle has passed operating testing and is set to be delivered to the armed forces after production is completed by year-end, the Armaments Bureau said.

The sniper has a 12.7mm caliber and is part of the Defense Ministry's plan to supply the armed forces with higher-precision snipers.

According to the Armaments Bureau, the T112 sniper rifle has an effective range of 2,000 m and is more lethal than previous models issued to members of the armed forces. It is a manual bolt-action rifle as opposed to a semi-automatic rifle, meaning the sniper will have to pull the bolt back after firing each round to chamber the next.

It features an adjustable gunstock and cheekpiece to accommodate different shooting habits, according to the bureau. The all-important barrel and action of the T112 sniper rifle are mostly made of domestically sourced components, the bureau added.

(By Wu Su-wei and Sean Lin)


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