The army is to upgrade its M60A3 Patton tanks as part of a five-year plan to build up its combat forces, army generals told Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅) at a conference in Kinmen County on June 28.
The conference took place after Chang and members of the Control Yuan National Defense and Intelligence Committee toured an outpost guarded by the Lieyu Defense Team of the Kinmen Defense Command.
When questioned by committee members about the army’s tanks becoming obsolete, the generals told them the military is planning to upgrade its M60A3 tanks, although it has yet to decide the type of upgrades and the number of tanks to be upgraded.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The program is in the early stages of conceptual planning, they said, adding that battle requirements would guide the military in identifying what improvements are needed for its tanks.
Although the Ministry of National Defense plans to buy 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks from the US and has tendered a letter of request to Washington, the bulk of the army’s armored units would continue to be equipped with legacy platforms after the service acquires new tanks.
The army’s frontline tank fleet consists of 480 M60A3s, 450 CM11s, or modified M48 turrets mated to M60 chassis, and 250 CM12s, or C11 turrets mated to M48 hulls, according to the Defense Industry Daily Web site.
The fundamental technology used in the tanks dates back to the 1940s and 1950s, and their 105mm rifled gun is mostly unable to cope with modern battle tanks, while their armor plating does not utilize composite materials used in modern armored fighting vehicles.
The army in 2017 expressed an interest in upgrading its M60A3 tanks with 120mm smoothbore guns, which have replaced 105mm guns in most Western armies, as well as new turrets, turret hydraulics and ballistics computers.
However, the project’s price tag of NT$100 million (US$3.21 million at the current exchange rate) per tank apparently put off top brass and it did not appear in the nation’s defense budget in the years since.
The navy’s new 10,600-tonne warship is on Tuesday to be christened the ROCN Yushan (玉山), as the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding program reaches a milestone, sources said yesterday. The vessel, previously referred to as the “new landing platform dock,” was at a shipyard with its name freshly painted on the hull with the number 1401, the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing an unnamed observer. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a member of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the report in a Facebook post. The NT$4.635 billion (US$163 million) ship is designed
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight
‘NOT ENTHUSIASTIC’: People who have been approved by the CECC as special cases who need to travel, such as foreign diplomats, would be able to receive a vaccine The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to the fourth priority group — people who need to travel abroad for special reasons — adding that out-of-pocket vaccines would be available from Wednesday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said although Taiwan’s COVID-19 vaccination program was on Monday expanded to include the top three groups in the priority list, people are still “not enthusiastic” about getting vaccinated. “Only 1,220 people received a vaccine shot on Tuesday, and a total of 27,113 people have received COVID-19 vaccination” so far, he