*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - August 17, 2009: In a surprise move, CSIST displayed the Hsiung Feng 3 (Brave Wind) anti-ship missile and Tien Kung-3 (Sky Bow) air defense missile. It is only the second time the military has allowed public access to the two missiles. The first time was in 2007, when both were displayed during the Ten-Ten military parade. CM32 8X8 Yunpao [Cloud Leopard] Armored Vehicle ~ The CM-32 is an 8x8 armored vehicle based on the design of the 6x6 CM-31. The vehicle takes its moniker from Taiwan's nearly extinct clouded leopard, or "Yunpao," because of its agility and stealth. The design was developed by Timoney of Ireland. Timoney Technology Limited was formed as a campus company at University College Dublin in 1968 and still retains close links with the college. The Timoney Technology Group designs and develops a variety of vehicles for commercial applications, mainly utilising their unique Independent Suspension Technology. Timoney's range of high mobility vehicles includes Armoured Personnel Carriers, Combat Support Vehicles, Heavy Transporters and Airport Crash Fire Rescue Vehicles. There was initially little definitive information about the CM-32 available. Some reports suggested that Taiwan will build the vehicles within the country, under license from a foreign developer. This is probably an 8x8 version of the Timoney Mk8, known as the CM31 in Taiwan. In 2001 it was announced this Irish company had won the competition to supply an 8x8. Pressure was applied by the US to have this decision overturned in favor of the Stryker, though it seems this efforts was unsuccessful. Other reports suggest that the vehicle will be both indigenously designed and built entirely by Taiwan. In a military reform plan that was completed in 2001, Taiwan's military cut troop numbers but increased their mobility and firepower. This marked an end to the debate in the army over whether the next generation of armored vehicles should be tracked or wheeled. The choice suggests that mobility was given top priority. The first model, which is similar in design to the French-made Piranha armoured vehicle, was completed in February 2004. Mass production of the new vehicle, which will not begin until it passes tactical evaluation, is slated for 2007. The new vehicles would replace some 700 M-41 tanks, while M48-Hs and M60-A3s would remain the backbone of the army's tank force. The procurement project could cost the army up to 36 billion Taiwan dollars (1.05 billion US). Estimated to cost NT$65 million each, the military claims it is about one-quarter of the price of the Stryker. The eight-wheeled vehicle, specially designed for the challenges presented by Taiwan's demanding local environment, represents a breakthrough for the military which previously had to buy more expensive foreign equipment. The military rolled out three prototypes of the eight-wheeled vehicle 11 January 2005 at a ceremony at the Ordinance Readiness Development Center in Nantou, where the vehicle will be mass-produced beginning in 2007. The ORDC has the capacity itself to produce 30 of the armored vehicles a year, although the private sector may be tapped to help since the military projects it will receive requests for up to 1,400 carriers. CSIST also exhibited a sounding rocket. A Taiwan defense analyst said the rocket was originally a cover program for Taiwan's ballistic missile development. However, CSIST officials denied this, stating the rocket was for scientific experiments conducted by the National Space Program Office (NSPO). "CSIST and NSPO joined together on this program in 1997," said a CSIST official. "We have 10-15 sounding rocket launches planned with the NSPO before 2018. We build them as NSPO needs them." The two-stage solid fuel rocket is 7.7 meters in length, has a speed of Mach 7, a maximum altitude of 280 km and can carry a 130 kg payload. The Taiwan defense analyst said the fact that it is a two-stage sounding rocket raises questions and "CSIST was careful to make sure they only acknowledged a maximum altitude of 280 km," just short of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) 300 km/500 kg range/payload minimum. UAVs showcased CSIST also displayed a wide variety of UAVs at this year's TADTE, including an operational Chung Shyang for the first time. A CSIST representative said the first one was built in 2007 and CSIST now has five operational prototypes. "The army and air force are interested in the Chung Shyang," he said. "With the recent typhoon, the army could have conducted a damage assessment, but the army has no UAV capability at this time. We expect a decision from the military in 2010 with a potential order of twenty." The Chung Shyang has both day and night surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. It can also serve as a communications relay. It has a range of 100 km, cruising speed of 60 knots with an eight-hour endurance. The Taiwan coast guard has dropped interest in the platform for budgetary reasons, he said. CSIST also showed off its Cardinal mini-UAV system and Blue Magpie mini-UAV system, both hand-launched platforms. The 2.1 kg Cardinal began development in 2007 and there are now ten in production for further testing. It has a range of 15-20 km, speed of 30 knots, endurance of 1.5 hours, and a maximum altitude of 4.5 km. Payload options include a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera, night vision camera, goggle manual and autopilot. The military has expressed interest in procuring the Cardinal, but no decision has been made. However, the Blue Magpie has garnered no interest by the military. The system is extremely small with a weight of only 1.0 kg. It has a CCD payload and can be flown by autopilot or manual. It has a range of three kilometers, maximum altitude .6-1.5 km, cruising speed of 25 knots with a one-hour endurance. The UAV can "transmit real-time images … and can be used for reconnaissance and target acquisition," said a CSIST representative. It has been in development since 2006. Clouded Leopard A representative of the Combined Logistics Command, under the Ministry of National Defense, confirmed the 8x8 CM-32 Clouded Leopard was still being considered by the military, despite local media reports the program had been killed. "The army will make a final decision in 2010 on the fate of the platform," he said. There have been reports in the local media the CM-32 was overweight, suffered from transmission problems, lacked amphibious capabilities, and the turning radius was too wide.