As part of its efforts to revamp the military and strengthen joint battalion combat capabilities, the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is developing a new combat vehicle armed with a 105-millimeter cannon. According to Taiwan News, the prototype will be completed this year, while testing will be conducted in 2022 with an initial operational evaluation slated for 2023. The new fire support vehicle (mobile gun system or tank destroyer) 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 Taiwanese National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) had purchased two M68A2 105-mm cannons from the U.S. in order to study their design. The institute had also requested that the manufacturers provide technical documents, including the mechanical blueprints of the gun, to facilitate the development of the vehicle. The 105-mm gun barrels were purchased from abroad, future mass production of the weapons will be developed in Taiwan through technology transfer.
The M68A2 used on the original variant of the M1128 Mobile Gun System (Stryker MGS), and based on the M68A1 barrel but now has an integrated pepperpot muzzle brake, muzzle reference system, standard bore evacuator and a thermal sleeve. The M68A2 rifled gun can fire four types of ammunition: the M900 kinetic energy penetrator; the M456A2 high explosive anti-tank round; the M393A3 high explosive plastic round and M1040 canister shot.
The ministry said the fire support vehicle will be highly mobile, lightweight, and able to respond to incidents quickly. They will also fit into the ministry’s asymmetric warfare strategy once deployed. 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.