Armor: July 11, 2003


Taiwan completed the prototype of an eight-wheeled Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) in early June and will move foreward with the $1.05 billion project. The first production model, similar in design to the Piranha LAV, would be completed in February 2004. These new armored vehicles would replace about 700 vintage M-41 light tanks, while M48-Hs and M60-A3s would remain the backbone of the army's tank force. 

The completion of the prototype marked an end to a long-standing debate in the army of whether tracked or wheeled armor should be selected as the next generation of armored vehicles, although an unnamed army general was quoted saying that the US-made M1-A2 Abrams main battle tank is on the army's shopping list.

In 1999, Taiwan attracted the attention of several foreign tank manufacturers, after announcing plans that they would procure up to 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles over the following five to 10 years. - Adam Geibel


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