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September 27, 2017

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Control Yuan censures Army following botched upgrade

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Reports indicate that the Control Yuan (監察院) recently censured the Army Command Headquarters (陸軍司令部) over botched efforts in upgrading armaments fitted on the CM-32 "Cloud Leopard" (雲豹) armored infantry fighting vehicle.

A Control Yuan probe revealed that the army headquarters had previously requested funds to replace the 25mm cannons fitted on the CM-32 with a domestically developed design, in a bid to reduce the Taiwan's reliance on arms imports, citing a pressing tactical need for the initiative. Design specifications call for a turret with a caliber size ranging from 20mm to 40mm, and for it to be able to demonstrate enough penetration power to pierce the defenses of PRC armored vehicles of the same classification and have barrel durability of firing at least 8,000 rounds.

Funds were granted to the Armament Bureau (軍備局) and the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (中研院) to develop a new 20mm cannon design, the lowest caliber size allotted by recommended guidelines. However, in 2010 the army headquarters found that the new 20mm cannon design failed to meet requirements in gun barrel durability and armor piercing performance.

As a result, the army headquarters ruled to scuttle the project, calling for a new 30mm design featuring a domestically designed turret fitted with an imported chain-fed gun.

In response the Control Yuan deemed the botched project a reflection of the army headquarters' ineffectiveness, which had resulted in the squandering of funds, while delaying CM-32's progress toward the domestic mass production phase, which is not expected until 2019, hampering national defense objectives. The army headquarters stated that mass production for the CM-32 may not commence before the design of its main gun has been finalized.

According to reports, the original design calling for a 20mm cannon, the smallest size allowed on the recommended range had been questioned, as PRC armored vehicles are widely known to be equipped with 25mm to 30mm guns.

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