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Taiwan unveils direct-fire support variant of its Cloud Leopard armoured vehicle

A new direct-fire support variant of Taiwan's Cloud Leopard armoured vehicle, seen equipped with a 105 mm gun, is shown to the media during a demonstration in Nantou County. (I-Hwa Cheng/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has unveiled a prototype of the Cloud Leopard (‘Yunpao') 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle fitted with a locally developed turret-mounted 105 mm gun.

The vehicle, which is intended for Republic of China Army (RoCA) direct-fire support operations, was displayed to the media for the first time at the MND's Armaments Bureau's 209th Arsenal in central Nantou County on 25 June.

The MND said the new vehicle is scheduled to complete testing in 2025 before entering a mass production phase. The vehicle will be manufactured by Armaments Bureau factories.

The MND said that in demonstrations before the media, the prototype – dubbed D2 – showed mobility and performance capabilities in various on-road exercises. The vehicle also fired a 105 mm armour-piercing discarding sabot round at a static target from a distance of 2 km.

The prototype is the second of two manufactured by the Armaments Bureau in 2023. These vehicles also underwent initial weapons testing and combat readiness testing in that year. The production of a third prototype is under way at a cost of TWD290 million (USD8.9 million), Taiwan's state-run Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The vehicle has been developed in collaboration with the state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), which was also responsible for developing the vehicle's 105 mm gun. The vehicle is also fitted with a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and a remote weapon station mounting a 12.7 mm machine gun.

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