Tue, Sep 20, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan pans army’s aging tank fleet

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Control Yuan criticized the quality of the equipment used by the army’s armored units, saying aging tanks have fallen more than a generation behind modern standards.

The Control Yuan, at the request of two members, Kao Feng-hsien (高鳳仙) and Teresa Yin (尹祚芊), opened an investigation into an incident in Pingtung County last month when a CM-11 tank toppled into a creek, killing four crew members and injuring the driver.

The Control Yuan said it needed to open the investigation because the frequency of accidents involving armored units has sapped military morale and undermined public confidence in the armed forces, citing the Pingtung accident as well as one in November last year, when an out-of-control CM-21 armored personnel carrier fell into a lake, killing two soldiers.

A separate investigation into the military’s purchase of tracks for tanks and other armored vehicles concluded in May that “structural, institutional and systemic malfeasance” persist in contracting and testing equipment purchases, the Control Yuan said.

The Control Yuan said that it had filed a corrective measure against the Ministry of National Defense over that case.

It said that it recommended the ministry discipline personnel responsible for the scandal, including officers serving at Army Command Headquarters.

The military’s program to obtain next-generation tanks would be a high-priority item in the annual audit of the ministry in November, the Control Yuan said.

The M60A3 tanks, one of the army’s two main battle models, were retired by the US army following the 1991 Gulf War and purchased by Taiwan in 1995, so they have been in service for more than 30 years, the Control Yuan said.

The CM-11 tanks were assembled by combining the hulls of M60-series tanks with the turrets of M48-series tanks and a modern fire-control system, the Control Yuan said, adding that the tanks began service with Taiwan’s military in 1990.

The Control Yuan said it expects the ministry to report on its plans to modernize the army’s tank fleet and on the progress it has made in implementing them.

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