On Monday, February 5, Taiwan’s Liberty Times reported that the government of the Republic of China is working with the American company Northrop Grumman to secure Taiwan’s ammunition production capacity and will be able to locally produce ammunition for CM-32 Clouded Leopard infantry fighting vehicles, also called TIFV (Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and M1A2T Abrams tanks.
The Republic of China Army (ROCA) operates a total of 683 of the CM-32 armoured vehicles family from the Clouded Leopard series, and the CM-34 armoured fighting vehicle is a variant of the CM-32, equipped with a 30-mm Mk44 Bushmaster II chain cannon mounted on a turret system, intended for the tasks of defending the coast of Taiwan and implementing anti-aircraft missions.
Although most of the components for the CM-34 come from Taiwan, the 30 mm x 173 ammunition still has to be purchased abroad. On June 29, 2023, Taiwan received approval the US government to purchase from Northrop Grumman various 30mm unclassified munitions, including High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer (HEI-T), Multi-Purpose (M-P), and Blank for a maximum of USD 332.2 million.
With the introduction of the CM-34 IFV into service and the increasing process of combat training of crews, the Taiwanese Armaments Bureau is trying to develop 30 mm ammunition, but so far no progress has been made. In addition, the issue of the need for additional supplies of 120 mm ammunition was also discussed, as Taiwan has purchased 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and their deliveries will begin this year (Taiwan: First deliveries of M1A2T and HIMARS soon).
The American Northrop Grumman Corporation entered into cooperation with the Taiwanese defense industry in August 2023, opening an office in Taipei. It said it would cooperate to develop Taiwan’s military capabilities, and Fisher Huang, director general of the Taiwan office, noted in an interview that talks are currently underway to sign a contract to produce 30 mm ammunition and the possibility of producing 120 mm ammunition in Taiwan.
Huang said Northrop Grumman has signed a production agreement with Taiwan’s Bureau of Munitions Plant 205 with plans to open a munitions test facility in January-March this year to secure test capacity while focusing on strengthening 30mm munitions production capacity in April-June.
He also mentioned that the next ammunition to be produced in Taiwan is 120-millimeter ammunition for M1A2T tanks. Plant 202 currently produces 105 mm ammunition for the M60A3 and CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks, so discussions are currently underway and expectations are that 120 mm ammunition can be produced in Taiwan as soon as possible.