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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.

Like the army of many countries, the Taiwan Army has long had disputes between "trackers" and "wheels". After all, wheeled armored vehicles are off-road, protective, and revolving. The ability to be innate is inferior to the tracked car. It was not until the late 1990s that the Taiwan Army officially decided to use the keynote of the wheeled vehicle to replace the active M-113 tracked armored personnel carrier and the V-150 four-wheeled armored vehicle. The wheeled car division is divided into two choices: "six-wheeled armor" and "eight-wheeled armor". The Army considered the world trend in the late 1990s and finally decided to choose the eight with low grounding pressure and large amount of development and sufficient development. Wheeled armored vehicles to replace the national army M-113, CM-21 tracked armored vehicle series and V-150 four-wheeled light armored vehicle.

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 claimed 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 had the capacity itself to produce 30 of the armored vehicles a year, although the private sector may be tapped to help since the military projected it will receive requests for up to 1,400 carriers.

The CM-32 would 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 represented an effort by Taiwan to become less dependent on foreign defense contractors.

The Army planned after three years to enter production, and estimated 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 planned a new army's characteristics with the armored vehicles which achieve 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.

In the August 18, 2017 Taipei World Trade Aerospace Defense Exhibition, the 209 factory of the Armament Bureau publicly exhibited the second generation of the "M1 prototype" of the clouded leopard. Compared with the original clouded leopard, the "M1 prototype" improved the car body's bullet-proof shape. The outer armor on both sides of the car body was changed from the original straight shape to the wedge shape (the angle was calculated), and the hollow structure (the first generation of clouded leopard) Additional armor uses a honeycomb structure to improve protection. After the improvement, the second-generation Cloud Leopard car has an increase of about 600 liters more than the first generation of clouded leopards, and the weight of the car has increased slightly.

Originally, the clouded leopard rear door used a downwardly-opening slope. The "M1 prototype" was changed to a door that was opened to both sides. The opening time was greatly reduced from 7 seconds of the first generation of clouded leopards to 3 seconds, which speeded up the entry and exit of personnel. In addition, the initial cover of the clouded leopard was upwardly open, and the roof compartment cover of the "M1 prototype" was changed to the left and right to open, so that the cover can be prevented from blocking the turret's shooting range, and the enemy is also compared. It is not easy to observe the timing of the Cloud Leopard personnel opening the door.

The second generation of prototypes, in addition to the first two pairs of steering wheels, the fourth pair of wheels can also be used with the first two wheels. This reduces the turning radius from 11m for the first generation of clouded leopards to 9m. Notice that there is room on both sides of the rear of the car, and in the future, a water jet propeller for floating use can be installed. The second generation of Cloud Leopard M1 prototype rear door is changed from the original downwardly opened slope to the two sides to shorten the door opening time by half. Compared with the clouded leopard gun exhibited at the World Trade Fair in August 2015, the top hatch of this second-generation Yunbao mortar car changed from upward to double push. Open, when opened, does not increase the height of the side of the car body and increases the chance of being discovered by the enemy.

According to a report in early 2005, the Army initially planned to purchase 852 eight-wheeled armored vehicles of the IFV type (equipped with a turret of 25 mm or more). If other derivative types are added, the total demand may exceed 1400. Of the 852 new eight-wheeled IFV models, 3/4 will be deployed in the Army's three mechanized infantry brigades (combined from the original brigade and the Motohua infantry brigade) and the Keelung Brigade and the Light Sea Brigade, which will be responsible for defending the rest. It is deployed in the armored gendarmerie battalion and the air force anti-street force responsible for defending Taipei City; the original main equipment of these units is the CM-21 tracked armored personnel carrier and the V-150 wheeled armored vehicle, which have been used for more than 20 years. The V-150 will be the top priority, and the newer CM-21 will be replaced by budget. In addition, the Marine Corps also has the need for 100 eight-wheeled assault vehicles to replace the old M-41 light tanks.

After a small amount of production in the initial stage of the Bingjing Center in 2007, the production of the cloud leopard was scheduled to increase significantly from 2009. According to the report at the end of July 2011, the cloud leopard armored vehicle (APC type) had been officially put into mass production. The Taiwan Army has received 23 vehicles at this time, of which 5 are left in the Army Infantry School and 18 are ready to be assigned to the combat reserve unit. From 2011 to 2014, it was produced at a rate of more than 100 vehicles per year, and all production plans were completed in 2014. At the end of 2014, it was intended to produce 368 vehicles the APC type equipped with a 40-mm grenade machine gun.

The production of Clouded Leopard reached 625 units. The first 250 units were supplied by private manufacturers and delivered to the whole center for assembly. The remaining 375 units were completely commissioned by private manufacturers with a total budget of NT$51.6 billion (originally scheduled for 2006-2014) carried out). In addition to manufacturing, the maintenance and upgrade of the entire life cycle of Yunbao is also intended to be undertaken by private manufacturers, which can reduce the cost of life, reduce the pressure on the military and increase the energy of national technology.

A total of 17 shortcomings with the Clouded Leopard armored vehicle have been fixed, the Ministry of National Defense said 04 January 2019. The military was responding to a report by the Apple Daily that there were 21 major problems with the eight-wheeled Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle, known officially as the CM-32, including oil leaks and a lack of interchangeable spare parts.

The military said that over the years since the vehicle first came into use, soldiers had gradually found 17 problems, but all of them were addressed by Taiwans Ordnance Readiness Development Center, the Central News Agency reported. The vehicles reliability corresponded to the needs of warfare, the ministry was quoted as saying. The engine has a lifespan of 780,000 kilometers, and each two weeks the vehicle has to cover a distance of at least 5 km, CNA reported, adding that the records from 2011 to 2018 showed a better-than-average performance, without the problems such as the oil leaks mentioned by the Apple Daily.

In a related case, the Taichung District Court was still handling allegations that a contractor had been supplying parts made in China for the Clouded Leopard, the Ministry of National Defense said. The CM-32 is based on the Irish-designed CM-31 and saw mass production launched in 2007, with 600 vehicles being ordered in its first phase. The project cost a total of NT$700 million (US$22.6 million), reports said.

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Page last modified: 01-09-2020 20:41:01 ZULU