The Sabrah Ascod and Pandur light tanks are the first modern tanks the Philippine Army will have postwar era.

According to the Philippine News Agency, 20 Sabrah light tanks from Elbit Systems will soon be delivered to the Philippine Army this year. This addition is expected to significantly enhance the country’s armor capabilities. According to Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, spokesman for PA, these armored vehicles are part of the Army’s Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Program.

In another announcement, another 10 Sabrah PANDUR II all-wheel-drive version, scheduled for delivery in 2023. Trinidad said these vehicles will comprise the planned 1st Tank Battalion of the PA Armor Division. “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,” he said.

Sabrah Ascod Light Tank
Sabrah Ascod Light Tank

The Sabrah Ascod and Pandur light tanks are the first modern tanks the Philippine Army will have postwar era. The Sabrah turret design benefits from the reference of Elbit Systems and the IDF “Merkava” Directorate “MANTAK” combat-proven Armored Vehicles. Sabrah is built on the tracked ASCOD armored fighting vehicle family platform that is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Barbara from Spain.

The 30-ton “Sabrah” light-tank solution provides a unique combination of powerful fire capacity and high maneuverability. It will be equipped with a 105mm turret and a range of the Company’s subsystems, including electro-optical sights, fire control systems, TORCH-XTM battle management systems, E-LynXTM software-defined radio systems, and life support systems. Elbit’s C4 system, including the Battle Management System (BMS), and the Combat NG fire control and command system are already in service in the Philippine army’s inventory.

Each side of the turret is equipped with a bank of four smoke grenade dischargers. The turret drive is fully electric with elevation and traverse stabilization. The Sabrah 105 mm gun system is fitted with an automatic loading system with 12 rounds ready to fire. It has an effective firing range of 3,600m with a rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute. The vehicle carries a total of 36 ammunition, with 24 rounds stored in the hull.

The ASCOD series of armored fighting vehicles has many variants. In Spanish service, the vehicle is called “Pizarro”, while the Austrian version is called “Ulan”. The ASCOD vehicle was chosen by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence as the common base platform on which the Ajax would be developed. The Griffin is a armored fighting vehicle proposed for U.S. Army in Mobile Protected Fire power program and Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle program as M2/M3 Bradley replacement.

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