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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Gun barrels bought for armored vehicle to arrive in September 2021

ROC Central News Agency

11/30/2020 05:30 PM

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Gun barrels purchased overseas to be mounted on prototypes of indigenous armored vehicles are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan in September 2021, military officials said at the Legislative Yuan on Monday.

A foreign manufacturer won the bid in July to produce the 105-mm assault guns to be installed on the latest model of the Clouded Leopard eight-wheeled armored vehicle, Army Lieutenant General Fang Mao-hung (房茂宏), head of the Defense Ministry's Armaments Bureau, told lawmakers.

The military is now applying to the country of origin for permission to allow the gun barrels to be shipped to and enter Taiwan, which is expected to happen in September 2021, he said, without identifying the country from which the purchase is being made.

A military source told CNA that Taiwan is currently not capable of building the 105-mm assault gun itself and therefore needed to rely on purchases from overseas.

In the future, however, the barrel manufacturer has agreed to transfer key technology for the gun barrel so that the 105-mm assault guns can be produced locally once they start mass production, the source said.

When Taiwan begins to mass produce the gun barrels, it should be able to reduce the recoil of the guns by 70 percent, according to the source, who did not explain why Taiwan had such expectations.

After they are mounted with 105-mm assault guns, the indigenous armored vehicles will be deployed in the military's newly formed combined-arms battalions, the source said on the sidelines of a legislative session at which military representatives briefed lawmakers on the latest version of the Clouded Leopards.

The Armaments Bureau has commissioned the indigenous CM-32 and CM-33 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles, officially called the Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV) and has begun mass production of the CM-34 models.

A total of 284 CM-34 vehicles are expected to be produced by 2023.

The military is also developing two prototypes of the vehicles equipped with a 105-mm assault gun, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023 at a cost of NT$184 million (US$6.45 million).

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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