TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is set to buy a number of M777 howitzer artillery to replace the older M113 155 millimeter armored personnel carrier, according to Apple Daily.
The plan reportedly codenamed “acute thunder clap” (銳霆) is part of the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND) ongoing strategy to confront and dissolve a potential amphibious assault, the report said.
Previous reports suggest the MND began considering upgrading its artillery after a review of the the annual Han Kuang live-fire drills in 2017.
The MND initially considered purchasing a suite of M777 and M109A6 howitzers, but after purchasing the M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, the military decided to postpone the M109A6 purchase, and instead focus on M777 howitzer and M982 Excalibur guided artillery shell, the report said.
The M777 is manufactured by Britain’s BAE Systems, and is considered to be one of the world’s most technologically advanced howitzers. Variations of the M777 are currently used by Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.
It is understood that the M777 costs around US$700,000 (NT$24.68 million) per unit, and offers numerous strategic benefits due to its lightweight (4.2 tones) and ease of assembly.
The M982 Excalibur shell has the potential to strike targets 40 kilometers away, and could extend Taiwan’s military capability, reported Apple Daily.