Beijing, June 26 (EFE).- Taiwanese defense ministry announced on Monday that the development of indigenous armored vehicles was progressing according to schedule, refuting reports suggesting the project would be abandoned.
According to the ministry, two prototypes of the vehicle, equipped with 105 mm assault guns, have successfully passed the required tests and met the established dimension standards.
The vehicles, currently undergoing weapons testing until October, have demonstrated accuracy and stability during firing tests, as reported by the official Taiwanese news agency CNA.
Before entering the mass production phase, the vehicle needs to go through the defense ministry’s five-step development process, which includes initial conceptual design, engineering development, initial weapon testing, and combat readiness testing. The vehicle is currently in the fourth testing phase.
The government’s budget proposal, submitted to the Legislative Yuan (parliament), plans to mass-produce 282 next-generation Clouded Leopard armored vehicles fitted with locally produced 105mm assault guns from 2024 to 2036. However, it has not given a specific date for full-scale production.
The budget also covers the construction of the two prototypes, estimated to cost 769 million Taiwan dollars ($25 million) between 2019 and 2023.
Taiwan has already commenced production of other models in the Clouded Leopard family, such as CM-32, CM-33, and CM-34, each equipped with different types of weaponry.
Earlier, the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) reported that the Taiwanese army had decided to halt the development of the vehicles after discovering its dimensions, height, in particular, were unsuited to mass production.
The development of Taiwan’s indigenous defense manufacturing sector, although in its early stages, has received a boost due to the escalating risk of confrontation with China.
In recent months, Taiwan has implemented measures such as extending compulsory military service from four months to one year and requiring female reservists to participate in training.
China considers the self-ruled island part of its territory.
Beijing says it reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan, even as a peaceful merger would be its first choice.
The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory. EFE