The Philippine Army (PA) is about to get a new fleet of tanks. This was made possible after the government was able to secure a deal with Israel for the procurement of 20 Sabrah Light Tanks.
According to PA spokesperson Col Xerxes Trinidad, the upcoming armored vehicles are part of the army's Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Program (RAFPMP). The contract itself costs PHP 9.4 billion and was acquired via the government-to-government mode.
“As part of the Light Tank Acquisition Project under the Horizon 2 of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), the 20 units of Sabrah ASCOD (Tracked) Light Tanks are expected to be delivered this year,” said Trinidad.
The soon-to-arrive Sabrah Light Tank is made by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems. Each tank is armed with a 105mm rifled gun, along with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. For added protection, the tank also comes with eight 76mm smoke grenade launchers and 2 optional anti-tank guided missiles. Powering the Sabrah is an eight-cylinder Cummins turbo-diesel engine.
Another 10 tanks are scheduled to be delivered by 2023 and these will be based on the Sabrah Pandur II platform. Unlike the regular Sabrah which rolls on tracks, the Pandur II are wheeled light tanks. It will also have a 105mm main gun.
“These armored vehicles are mounted with 105mm cannons. As to their organization, the tanks will be organic to the proposed activation of 1st Tank Battalion of the Armor Division to compose the first modern light tank fleet of the PA,” added Trinidad.
With the Philippine Army set to receive new tanks, this much-needed upgrade is a welcome one for our soldiers.