The CM-32 Yunpao ("Clouded Leopard") is an eight-wheeled, modular armored vehicle serving with the land forces of Taiwan. The vehicle is based on the preceding Taiwanese Army CM-31 six-wheeled armored vehicle appearing in the 1990s. This vehicle itself originated through the Irish Timoney Technology Limited concern with license production handled in Taiwan. The CM-32 was born out of a Taiwanese government initiative in 2002 as an improved form of the CM-31 with greater capabilities and modernized systems to suit changing military requirements. Production of the new vehicle began in 2007 with a procurement order for 600 vehicles. Development was handled by the Ordnance Readiness Development Center.
Modular armored vehicles such as the CM-32 allow operators to purchase one chassis for different battlefield needs. The same hull, engine and chassis can mount various armament configurations to suit the mission at hand while being a logistically-friendly end-product. As such, these vehicles can take on the roles of armored personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle, command and control vehicle, battlefield ambulance, fire support, mortar carrier and the like without the high cost of purchasing dedicated systems. Protection for the occupants is usually minimal-to-adequate but the wheeled nature of these vehicles means good cross country support and the ability to keep pace with a modern mechanized force while reaching out to excellent operational ranges.
As with most armored vehicles, the CM-32 is designed with greater armor protection along its front facing and lesser protection fielded along the sides and rear quarters. Heavy caliber machine gun rounds can be defeated along this front panel and all-around protection covers personnel from general small arms fire and artillery "spray". Crew and passenger safety is naturally a high-valued quality in such transport vehicles and, thusly, the CM-32 sports an integrated fire control system as well as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical suite to counter NBC attacks. The Vee-shaped hull is also designed to help deflect explosive and fragmentation blasts from unseen enemy mines. A central tire pressure system allows for customized control of each individual wheel system to help adapt the vehicle to varying terrain or flat tires. To banks of five smoke grenade dischargers can be used for both offensive actions and defensive retreats.
The CM-32 sits atop eight large rubber-tired road wheels (four to a vehicle side) with full suspension across all wheels and all-wheel drive functionality as standard. The glacis plate is sloped downwards towards the front of the vehicle, ending at a decided point against the lower hull front. The top edge of the glacis plate meets a less-sloped surface before contouring to the superstructure roof. The sides of the CM-32 are vertical in design while armament is concentrated within a centrally-positioned turret located along the hull roof. There is a driver's hatch along the forward front left of the hull as well as passenger hatches to the rear of the hull roof. A rear door allows for passengers to enter/exit the vehicle. The turret maintains its own access hatches for the vehicle commander and gun layer. A standard operating crew includes the commander, gunner and driver. The driver is seated in the front left of the vehicle with the engine fitted to his right. A passenger cabin is situated at the rear of the vehicle, aft of the turret bustle, and - in the APC variant - can seat up to eight combat troops. The driver's position is low profile, identified by the armored hatch with applicable vision blocks. Utilization of rear-view mirrors (these set to the forward sides of the vehicle) are a requirement when driving in a "buttoned" fashion through enemy terrain. The vehicle is reportedly fully amphibious and propelled through the water by propeller systems.
The CM-32 is powered by an American Caterpillar C12 series diesel-fueled engine delivering 410 horsepower. This supplies the vehicle with a top speed of 120km per hour as well as an operational range nearing 800km. Placement of the powerpack is in the front right of the hull, consistent with contemporary armored fighting vehicles.
Primary armament of the CM-32 infantry fighting vehicle variant is a 20mm autocannon system along with a 12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine gun on a powered turret emplacement. The base CM-32 armored personnel carrier features a dual-weapon arrangement consisting of a 40mm automatic grenade launcher as well as a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. The fire support vehicle / mobile gun platform can mount a 105mm or 120mm main gun as needed and is clearly identified by its Main Battle Tank-style turret (with sloped facings) and long main gun (complete with fume extractor). The mortar carrier variant is fitted with a 120mm field mortar for indirect fire support of allied infantry actions.
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Ordnance Readiness Development Center - Taiwan Manufacturer(s)
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