|Manufacturer:||Fighting Vehicles Command|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
The Type 64 light tank is similar to the US designed and built M41A2/M41A3 in automotive and mechanical details and has the same dimensions, chassis, engine and transmission but an improved electrical system.
The hull is of all-welded steel construction as in the M41 but incorporates advanced welding techniques in its manufacture and uses a new high-hardness alloy steel.
The all-cast turret has the same layout as the original M41 although slight alterations have been made to suit the medium stature of the Chinese tank crews. An additional layer of laminated high-hardness alloy steel armour plate is bolted/welded onto the hull and turret sides to provide greater protection against HEAT and APDS projectiles.
The Type 64 is armed with a 76 mm rifled gun as in the M41 but it is made in Taiwan and claimed to have a performance superior to the M32 gun. A 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main armament and a 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted at the commander's station for use in the anti-aircraft role. Both of these weapons arc made in Taiwan and the coaxial weapon probably resembles a modified version oftheUSM60.
Chinese sources state the Type 64 has an improved fire-control system. Ammunition stowage is probably identical to the M41A2/M41 A3.
Later Type 64 tanks may incorporate laser range-finders, ballistic computers and passive night vision equipment. All of these have been developed by the Sun Yat-Sen Scientific Research Institute of Taiwan.
The Type 64 has the same mobility, agility and range characteristics as the M41 but, in view of its additional armour, is probably heavier. Like the M41 it can be fitted for deep fording, but it is not amphibious and has
no NBC system. It is fitted with night driving lights and improved Taiwan-built communications equipment.
Following extensive trials between M4l light tanks upgraded by Techmotiv of Canada (using a US Cummins VTA 903-TR diesel engine) and NAPCO International of the US (using a US Detroit Diesel 8V-71T engine) the latter was selected by the Taiwanese Army early in 1997.
Following contract negotiations, it is understood that an initial order was placed with NAPCO International for 50 M41D upgrade kits with the actual upgrade work to be carried out in Taiwan.
The replacement of the current petrol engine by the more fuel efficient Detroit Diesel 8V-71T V-8 diesel engine increases the operational range of the tank from 160 to 450 km, as well as reducing the risk of fire.
Target date for the first batch of 50 vehicles to be upgraded is late 1999 at a unit cost of NT$20 million. The upgrade will extend the life of the M41 light tank by at least 15 years.
It is estimated that Taiwan has a fleet of around 400 (although some sources have stated 650) M41 light tanks which were supplied by the US many years ago. A total of 5,500 M41 light tanks were completed at the Cleveland Tank Arsenal with final deliveries taking place in the mid-1950s.
In the M41D upgrade the 76 mm gun has been retained as new Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot - Tracer (APFSDS-T) ammunition has already been purchased from AAI Corporation of the United States. The round is designated the M464 and has a muzzle velocity of 1,433 m/s.
Other improvements to the M41D light tank include the installation of side skirts to help keep down dust, a bank of six electrically operated smoke grenade launchers mounted either side of the turret and the ability to lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlets.
The 76 mm rifled gun has been fitted with a fume extractor and a pepperpot type muzzle brake. The 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun is retained and the commander has a roof mounted 12.7 mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and local defence. It is understood that the commander also has a day/thermal sighting system.
Taiwan also has a requirement for a new light tank armed with a 105 mm rifled gun and contenders for this requirement include Textron Marine & Land Systems with the Stingray II and United Defense LP with the M8 Armored Gun System. It is probable that first vehicles would be purchased from abroad with gradual licenced production being undertaken in Taiwan.
In service with Taiwan. Production complete. Upgrade to M41D underway.
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