Ministry inks deal for 285 sets of Mk44 chain guns

DEFENSE::The 285 sets, which are to be installed on Clouded Leopard vehicles, offer greater precision and durability, the defense ministry said

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Sep 30, 2017 - Page 3

Taiwan has signed a deal with US company Orbital ATK for the purchase of 285 sets of Mk44 30mm chain guns, which are to be installed on domestically manufactured Clouded Leopard armored vehicles, Ministry of National Defense officials said yesterday.

Shipments of the Mk44 chain guns, which cost NT$3.4 billion (US$112 million), will begin arriving soon, the ministry said.

The Mk44 chain gun’s design decreases vibration and it has relatively low recoil, as well as high precision and durability, the ministry said.

The Mk44 is capable of shooting on the move and is outfitted with charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras, it added.

The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology was tasked with fitting the turret that would house the chain gun onto the Clouded Leopard, with production scheduled to start next month.

There are currently two variants of the eight-wheeled Clouded Leopard: one has a grenade launcher and machine gun, and the other is a mobile command vehicle, the ministry said.

The 30mm chain gun is to be used for a third variant, with mass production expected to start before the end of the year.

The ministry’s budget shows that it plans to produce 652 armored vehicles by 2020 at a cost of NT$5.8 billion.