Taipei, Prototypes of an armored vehicle produced in Taiwan have recently passed the required tests and will soon enter mass production, a military official said Wednesday.
Four prototypes of the indigenous CM-34 "Clouded Leopard" eight-wheeled armored vehicle passed tests on Oct. 19 that were required for it to enter mass production, Army Lt. Gen. Fang Mao-hung (???), head of the military's Armaments Bureau, told lawmakers during a legislative session.
The vehicles, officially called the Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV), have passed all 62 categories in the primary pre-mass production tests while failing only two categories in the secondary pre-mass production tests, Fang said.
Because the test results have met the required standards, the military has initiated mass production of the vehicle model equipped with a 30mm chain gun, he said.
A total of 284 of that model vehicle are expected to be made in the coming years, Fang said, without providing any further details on the schedule.
A military official told CNA that Taiwan has ordered Orbital ATK 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster II cannons to be mounted on the indigenous wheeled armored vehicle.
Compared with the CM-32 models that are armed with 40 mm automatic grenade launchers, the 30mm cannon has better anti-tank capabilities and can precisely fire several rounds in rapid succession, the source said under condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment on the issue publicly.
Meanwhile, asked if the mass production of the CM-34s would affect Taiwan's plan to buy M1A2 tanks from the U.S., Army General Yang Hai-ming (???) said it would not because the CM-34s and M1A2s are complementary.
Taiwan's military disclosed in July that it plans to budget NT$30 billion (US$990 million) to procure 108 M1A2 tanks from the U.S. to replace its aging battle tanks.
Whether the U.S. government will approve such an arms procurement request remains uncertain at this time. (Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel