The Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense’s 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 fire support vehicle 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. 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 vehicle will be served as a fire support vehicle with armament designed primarily for infantry support in the Taiwanese armed forces.
According to the 2021 Ministry of Defense (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. 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.
The CM-32 “Clouded Leopard”, officially Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV), is an eight-wheeled armoured vehicle currently being produced for the Republic of China Army. It is based on the 6×6 CM-31 designed by Timoney Technology Limited of Ireland and is further developed by the Ordnance Readiness Development Center. 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.