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CM32 8X8 Yunpao [Cloud Leopard] Armored Vehicle

The CM-32 is an 8x8 armored vehicle based on the design of the 6x6 CM-31. The vehicle takes its moniker from Taiwan's nearly extinct clouded leopard, or "Yunpao," because of its agility and stealth.

The design was developed by Timoney of Ireland. Timoney Technology Limited was formed as a campus company at University College Dublin in 1968 and still retains close links with the college. The Timoney Technology Group designs and develops a variety of vehicles for commercial applications, mainly utilising their unique Independent Suspension Technology. Timoney's range of high mobility vehicles includes Armoured Personnel Carriers, Combat Support Vehicles, Heavy Transporters and Airport Crash Fire Rescue Vehicles.

There was initially little definitive information about the CM-32 available. Some reports suggested that Taiwan will build the vehicles within the country, under license from a foreign developer. This is probably an 8x8 version of the Timoney Mk8, known as the CM31 in Taiwan. In 2001 it was announced this Irish company had won the competition to supply an 8x8. Pressure was applied by the US to have this decision overturned in favor of the Stryker, though it seems this efforts was unsuccessful. Other reports suggest that the vehicle will be both indigenously designed and built entirely by Taiwan.

In a military reform plan that was completed in 2001, Taiwan's military cut troop numbers but increased their mobility and firepower. This marked an end to the debate in the army over whether the next generation of armored vehicles should be tracked or wheeled. The choice suggests that mobility was given top priority. The first model, which is similar in design to the French-made Piranha armoured vehicle, was completed in February 2004. Mass production of the new vehicle, which will not begin until it passes tactical evaluation, is slated for 2007. The new vehicles would replace some 700 M-41 tanks, while M48-Hs and M60-A3s would remain the backbone of the army's tank force. The procurement project could cost the army up to 36 billion Taiwan dollars (1.05 billion US). Estimated to cost NT$65 million each, the military claims it is about one-quarter of the price of the Stryker.

The eight-wheeled vehicle, specially designed for the challenges presented by Taiwan's demanding local environment, represents a breakthrough for the military which previously had to buy more expensive foreign equipment. The military rolled out three prototypes of the eight-wheeled vehicle 11 January 2005 at a ceremony at the Ordinance Readiness Development Center in Nantou, where the vehicle will be mass-produced beginning in 2007. The ORDC has the capacity itself to produce 30 of the armored vehicles a year, although the private sector may be tapped to help since the military projects it will receive requests for up to 1,400 carriers.

The CM-32 will reportedly have a Caterpillar C12 engine and a range of 800 kilometers. It will be capable of amphibious operations and support a crew of two. the 21-ton vehicle is designed to carry six fully equipped men [other reports say eight passengers].

The CM-32 represents an effort by Taiwan to become less dependent on foreign defense contractors. The CM-32 had having problems with suspension and handling the recoil of a large 105mm gun. These problems have to be fixed before production goes forward.

The Army plans after three years to enter production, and estimates that in the future will deploy in various armored infantry regiments, as well as the capital garrison. In addition, the Military Police Corps and the Marine Corps will also purchase the vehicle. It will replace the obsolete M41 combat tank, and the overall quantity will surpasses a thousand, and at least ten kinds of vehicle types may be develped. The "Cloud Leopard" armored car funds requires 360 hundred million Yuan.

The military plans a kind of new army's characteristic lies in completely carries by the turn of armored vehicle achievement, which achieves high speed. The duty and the role of the main island three regiments' armored infantry brigades and the motorized infantry brigade are synthesised into the armored infantry. At present eight regiments, organic parts of the 298th brigade, carried on the experiment to arrange the attire. Initial plans are for the combat tank, the firepower support battalion, the support battalion -- each one adds on two machine to make up by the firepower and the speed the insufficiency of military strength.

The Cloud Leopard armor vehicle is approximately seven meters long, with a weight approximately of about twenty tons. The development initial period met many bottlenecks. The armor is partial, with the plan that it can block 7.62 mmm armor piercering munitions. The Academia Sinica material researchers developed a primary material that is not really ideal, thought it blocks 12.7 mm bullets.

The advanced eight turning radius of the armored cars is 8.5 to 9 meters radii of turn.

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