Taiwan outlines 105mm wheeled combat vehicle progress

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has unveiled a new prototype of its long-running 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle development during a media event at its Ordnance Readiness Center in Nantou County on 25 June.

The event, hosted by the MND’s Armaments Bureau, centred on the second prototype vehicle, which is equipped with a manned turret and remote weapon station (RWS) armed with a 105mm main gun and 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, respectively.

The vehicle was designated D2 and put through its paces to demonstrate its mobility and terrain adaptability.

The MND earlier in 2021 allocated NT$768 million to initiate development of the wheeled combat vehicle, which was assumed to be based on the existing 8×8 CM-32 Yunpao (Clouded Leopard) platform already in service with the Republic of China Army (RoCA). However, the hull of the prototype D2 vehicle is clearly distinct from the baseline CM-32 vehicle, with exposed exhaust vents on its right side.

An early prototype of the wheeled combat vehicle based on the CM-32 platform with a manned 105mm turret had been displayed at past Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE) events, but the latest prototype appears to have been based on an entirely new vehicle.

The MND also showcased the M2 prototype of the next-generation Clouded Leopard II armoured vehicle development in public for the first time at the 2019 edition of TADTE.

The M2 prototype is the second of two Clouded Leopard II development testbeds built by the 209th Arsenal at the in partnership with the Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute. Both vehicles have been in trials since 2017. A key feature of the new vehicle is its hydropneumatic suspension system, which replaces the double wishbone suspension of the current CM-32 and CM-33 platforms and improves overall ride quality and responsiveness.

by Jr Ng