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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan to start building tank training facilities next year

ROC Central News Agency

09/05/2021 05:54 PM

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Taiwan is set to start construction of two tank training facilities in Hsinchu County next year as it is scheduled to take delivery of 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks from the United States from 2024-2026, according to the Ministry of National Defense's (MND's) budget plan.

The Army has approximately 1,000 tanks, including CM-11 Brave Tiger and M60A3 tanks, which have been in use for more than 20 years.

The military has compiled a budget of about NT$40.5 billion (US$1.45 billion) for 2019 to 2027 to purchase 108 M1A2T tanks from the U.S., which are expected to be assigned to the Sixth Army Corps in northern Taiwan.

Of the M1A2T tanks, 38 are scheduled to be delivered in 2024, 42 in 2025 and 28 in 2026.

According to the MND's budget proposal, which has been submitted to the Legislature for review, more than NT$4.39 billion is to be allocated for the production of military equipment and the construction of facilities related to the operation of new tanks.

The Army proposed a budget of NT$450.79 million and NT$1.19 billion, respectively, to build training facilities at the Chang'an army base in Hsinchu's Hukou Township and Kengzikou in the county's Xinfeng Township.

Construction of the planned facilities for tank driving and shooting training is set to start next year, according to the MND budget proposal.

The Chang'an site will be equipped with challenging purpose-built tracks for tank driving training, including straight and flat segments as well as steeper and curved sections, and a sub-caliber shooting range for M1A2T tank shooting exercise.

The Kengzikou training center will feature a state-of-the-art multi-use shooting range facility to enable tank firing at night and while moving, according to the proposal.

The military also plans to allocate NT$900 million over a three-year period from 2022-2025 to build bunkers that will improve the survivability of armored vehicles, better protect military soldiers and boost military combat capabilities.

In preparation for receiving Taiwan's first batch of U.S.-made M1A2T Abrams tanks, U.S. military officials recently completed a fact-finding mission in Taiwan where they surveyed tank maintenance and training capabilities, according to a military source.

The Army is also scheduled to dispatch 84 personnel to the U.S. to receive training in 2023, according to the source.

(By Matt Yu and Evelyn Kao)


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