TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Defense’s (MND) Armament Bureau has announced the development of a new variant of the Clouded Leopard armored vehicle, with two prototypes scheduled to be completed before 2023.
The new variant will be armed with a 105-mm cannon, a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and an additional 12.7 mm remote control gun turret. According to the 2021 MND budget, the Armament Bureau has set aside NT$768 million (US$ 27 million) to develop prototypes of a number of artillery vehicles between 2019 and 2023, CNA reported.
According to military sources, although the 105-mm gun barrels were purchased from abroad, future mass production of the weapons will be developed in Taiwan through technology transfer. Furthermore, it is expected the recoil force of the armored vehicle can be effectively reduced by more than 70 percent.
The new variant will be suited for rapid strikes and introduced in MND’s newly established joint arms battalion. At the same time, the Armament Bureau is updating the gun system to be remotely controlled. The Bureau is working with the National Chung Shang Institute of Science and Technology to come up with the vehicle design.
The Taiwanese military currently has a variety of Clouded Leopard armored vehicles, including the CM-32 and CM-33 models, which are both equipped with grenade launchers, and the CM-34 variant, which is armed with a 30-mm MK44 chain gun.