Taiwan to test US 105mm cannons for Clouded Leopard M2 armored vehicle project

According to Kelvin Chen in Taiwan News, the Taiwanese army will conduct live-fire tests of two tank guns it purchased from the U.S. in 2020 as part of a new armored vehicle project before they are shipped to the nation in September. The new armored fighting vehicle prototype will be completed by 2023
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CM-32 Yunpao (Clouded Leopard) armored vehicle in mobile gun configuration with a 105 mm gun (Picture source: Wikipedia)

The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense previously stated that the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) purchased two M68A2 tank guns from the U.S., which approved the export license in December 2020. In addition, NCSIST signed a Technical Assistance Agreement this January with the American cannon manufacturer to provide technical documents and blueprints to facilitate research and development.

On June 4, Taiwanese military personnel said that the two cannons will be used to design the gun for a new armored vehicle, which will be assigned to joint battalions for front-line and anti-armor missions. Since the vehicle is expected to weigh about 30 to 40 tons, the recoil force of the new cannon will be about 70 percent lower than that of Taiwan’s current guns of the same caliber, Liberty Times reported.

The new armored fighting vehicle is expected to be a Clouded Leopard M2 armed with a 105 mm cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7 mm turret machine gun. The MND and NCSIST will cooperate to produce two prototypes and begin developing a new 105mm armor-piercing projectile by 2023.

The CM-32 "Clouded Leopard" (officially Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV) is an 8x8 armored vehicle currently being produced for the Republic of China Army. It is based on the 6x6 CM-31 designed by Timoney Technology Limited of Ireland and is further developed by the Ordnance Readiness Development Center. According to the Taipei Times, it was named after the Formosan clouded leopard, an indigenous animal, to show that the vehicle is "agile and swift". The project was launched in 2002, at a cost of NT$700 million (US$21.9 million). The armor of the CM-32 provides protection of 7.62 mm AP rounds, while the frontal arc withstands 12.7 mm AP rounds. NBC protection and fire suppression systems are also standard. The V-shaped hull provides protection from landmines and can withstand 12 kg of TNT under any wheel. In its basic APC form the CM-32 is armed with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher and a 7.62 mm co-axial machinegun, both mounted in a remote weapons station.


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