Taiwan Army suspends all CM-11 main battle tanks after cannon explodes during drill, injuring soldier

Soldiers inspect a CM-11 tank after its gun barrel broke off during a live-fire drill in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan on Aug 31, 2016.
Soldiers inspect a CM-11 tank after its gun barrel broke off during a live-fire drill in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan on Aug 31, 2016. PHOTO: EPA/TAIWAN ARMY

TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Taiwan Army on Wednesday (Aug 31) decided to suspend all of its CM-11 main battle tanks after one of the tank's cannons exploded during a drill in Northern Taiwan earlier in the day.

The incident left no major casualties. One soldier had a minor eye injury and was sent to a hospital for treatment, the Army said.

Around 9am local time, a CM-11 main battle tank listed under the 542nd Armored Brigade of the 6th Army Corps was undergoing a live-firing exercise in Army's Northern Taiwan Testing Centre based in Hsinchu County.

The tank's gun exploded when it attempted to fire a second round of ammunition from its cannon. The cannon broke in half following the blast.

The cannon worked perfectly during the first round of firing, the Army said.

The Army said it had conducted thorough safety checks beforehand on all the tanks and ammunitions that were used during the exercise but had detected no irregularities.

It has ordered all tanks to suspend scheduled drills following the blast until they clear a comprehensive safety check.

An ad hoc investigative committee was established to probe the cause of the incident, it added.

The latest blast is the second incident in two weeks involving this type of tank.

The 564th brigade recently lost four soldiers when one of its CM-11 main battle tanks carrying five soldiers slid off a bridge and plummeted 3m into a stream on Aug 16 in a military drill ground in southeastern Pingtung County.

Three of the four died from the accident and one army lieutenant who was rescued in critical condition died two days later at a nearby hospital. The driver managed to escape with minor wounds.