Taiwan set to produce new vehicles, assault rifles

by Kapil Kajal

A 5.56 mm XT112 assault rifle prototype showcased at TADTE 2023. The rifle has a firing range of 600 m. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)

The Republic of China Army (RoCA) has granted the permission to produce a new direct fire support variant of the Cloud Leopard 8×8 wheeled armoured combat vehicle (ACV) and a new 5.56 mm assault rifle called XT112, Taiwan's state-owned Central News Agency (CNA) reported in late March.

According to the CNA, the ACV – fitted with a 105 mm gun – passed initial combat readiness testing with the RoCA in October 2023, while the XT112 assault rifle succeeded in this testing in November 2023. The testing has paved the way to mass production of both, the CNA report added.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) follows a five-step process to develop weapons. These steps comprise an initial conceptual design stage, an engineering development stage, initial weapon testing, combat readiness testing, and the production stage.


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Australia orders Boxers to export to Germany

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Australia ordered over 100 sWaTrg Inf heavy weapon carrier infantry vehicles from Rheinmetall on 10 April. (Rheinmetall)

The Australian government signed a production agreement with Rheinmetall Defence Australia on 10 April for over 100 Boxer Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie (sWaTrg Inf) heavy weapon carrier infantry vehicles to export to Germany. The company said in a press release announcing the contract later the same day that it would be Australia's largest foreign military export to Germany.

The vehicles are being procured under a government-to-government letter of intent signed by Canberra and Berlin in March.

Rheinmetall's Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, will produce the vehicles, with deliveries to the German government planned for 2026–30, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 10 April.

A Rheinmetall spokesperson told Janes that the first 20 vehicles would be produced in Rheinmetall's Kassel and Unterluess plants in Germany, with deliveries scheduled for 2025.

The sWaTrg Inf will replace the Bundeswehr's Wiesel 1 tracked tactical direct fire support weapon carrier and equip the German Army's new medium forces.


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Ukraine conflict: Lithuania sends mobile command vehicles to Ukraine

by Olivia Savage

Lithuania is providing its M577 command vehicle (pictured) to Ukraine under a military support deal. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Lithuania has supplied an undisclosed number of M577 armoured command vehicles to the Ukrainian army.

The vehicles, provided under a military support deal, arrived in Ukraine on 5 April, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MND) on 6 April.

An MND spokesperson was unable to specify to Janes the number of units supplied for security reasons.

M577 is the command-and-control (C2) variant of the M113 tracked armoured personnel carrier (APC) that was first introduced to the US Army in the 1960s. Three generations exist – A1, A2, and A3 – as is the case with the M113. M577 can also be used as a fire-direction centre and mobile medical treatment facility as well as a communications vehicle.

In December 2016 Lithuania acquired 168 M577A2 vehicles from Germany at a cost of EUR1.6 million (USD1.7 million). The vehicles were suited for various purposes, including C2, artillery fire control, mortar fire control, training, and as an ambulance. This followed an earlier order for 26 M577s from Germany.


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Special Report: Germany begins ordering new Boxer variants

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Bundeswehr ordered 123 Boxer sWaTrg Inf HWC infantry vehicles from Rheinmetall on 21 March. (Rheinmetall)

The Bundeswehr is procuring its first specialised versions of the Boxer, placing orders with Rheinmetall for Skyranger 30 air-defence systems mounted on Boxers in February and heavy weapon carriers (HWCs) in March.

It ordered 123 Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie (sWaTrg Inf) HWC infantry vehicles from Rheinmetall on 21 March, the German company announced in a press release the same day.

On 20 March the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, approved the EUR1.95 billion (USD2.1 billion) procurement, plus a EUR746.9 million service and maintenance contract, with deliveries planned for 2025–30.

HWC

The sWaTrg Inf will replace the Bundeswehr's Wiesel 1 tracked tactical direct fire support weapon carrier and equip the German Army's new medium forces, which will be rapidly deployable over long distances.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/taiwan-set-to-produce-new-vehicles-assault-rifles

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