Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Cloud Leopard 8x8 armoured vehicle ready for production.

Thanks to Jonathan for the link!

via Shepard Media.
Taiwan is ready to commence series production of an IFV variant of its indigenous Cloud Leopard 8x8 armoured vehicle for the Republic of China Army (ROCA).

Four prototype vehicles were formally declared as having passed tests, according to a 26 October announcement by Lt Gen Fang Mao-hung, head of the Armaments Bureau. Fang revealed that the type passed all 62 categories in primary pre-mass production tests, although two categories were failed in secondary tests.

Production will amount to 284 IFVs featuring a turret armed with a 30mm cannon and coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. The turret has been developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST).

The NCSIST had earlier said that production would commence in October 2017, suggesting that development hit snags along the way.

The nomenclature of the IFV variant has not been revealed yet.

On 29 September 2017, Taiwan signed a NTD3.4 billion ($112 million) contract with Orbital ATK for the supply of 285 Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm cannons for installation aboard the IFVs.

The cannons come with CCD cameras, and Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) stated that the type decreased vibration, had greater precision, better durability and lower recoil. It will support Cloud Leopards already fielded by combined-arms brigades designed to move rapidly to counter any Chinese invasion.

The original IFV prototype used a 25mm Bushmaster cannon (pictured above). The IFV variant offers a better anti-armour capability as well as the ability for precision fire, compared to the in-service APC variant.

The IFV variant joins the CM33 APC (armed with a remote weapon station with 12.7mm machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher) and the CM32 command vehicle. Production of 378 CM32 and CM33 vehicles has been completed.

These are operated by the ROCA, except for ten vehicles allocated to the Military Police Command for the protection of national leaders and critical infrastructure in the capital Taipei.

The MND plans to acquire 662 Cloud Leopard vehicles by 2023, with a total budget of NTD59 billion ($2 billion).

Other Cloud Leopard variants being developed by the NCSIST are known to include a mortar carrier.

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