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Taiwan set to produce new vehicles, assault rifles

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.

The new ACV is developed by the 209th Arsenal – located in the Nantou town of Jiji – of the MND's Armaments Bureau. In addition to a 105 mm gun, the ACV is expected to be equipped with a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and a remote weapon station mounting a 12.7 mm machine gun.

In December 2020 the Armaments Bureau allocated TWD768 million (USD23.9 million) to develop two prototypes of this new variant of the Cloud Leopard. The RoCA reportedly plans to induct 282 of these vehicles from 2024 to 2036. A spokesperson for the 209th Arsenal told Janes

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