The Inquirer reported that the Philippine Army will receive this month 20 Sabrah (Ascod) light tanks produced by the Israeli company Elbit Systems. This after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced it was expecting the delivery this month of 20 Israeli light tanks that would be turned over to the Philippine Army’s Armor Division based in Camp O’Donnell in Capas town, Tarlac province. The Sabrah light tanks are mounted with heavier-caliber firearms that were similar to the weapons that the AFP used during the five-month siege and retaking of Marawi City from Islamic State-aligned terrorists in 2017. Currently, The Philippine Army has more than 400 armored personnel carriers of different variants like Simba Fighting Vehicle, V150 commando, Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and the M113 A1 and A2. 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.
Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that it was awarded a contract valued at approximately $172 million to supply light tanks to the Philippine Army. As the prime contractor, Elbit Systems will supply the Sabrah light tank solution based on the tracked ASCOD armored fighting vehicle family platform that is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Barbara from Spain (“GDELS”), and on the wheeled Pandur II 8X8 platform manufactured by Excalibur Army from the Czech Republic. The 30-ton “Sabrah” light-tank solution provides a unique combination of powerful fire capacity and high maneuverability. Both platforms 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.
The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) armored fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG (in 1998 the production of heavily armed vehicles was sold out under the name Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug, which is now the producer) and Spanish General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas (both companies are now divisions of a unit of General Dynamic Land System). The ASCOD family includes the LT 105, a light tank equipped with a 105 mm gun, a surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher, an anti-tank missile launcher, a mortar carrier, R&R vehicle, Command & Control vehicle, ambulance, artillery observer, and the AIFV model. 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 (Light tank) power program and Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle program as M2/M3 Bradley replacement.
Elbit won its first contract in the Philippines for the supply of upgraded armored personnel carriers to the Philippine military back in June 2014. The upgrade included 25mm unmanned turrets, 12.7 mm remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS), and fire control systems (FCS) for 90 mm turrets. Elbit Systems Ltd. is an Israel-based international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world. The company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, electronic warfare suites, signal intelligence (SIGINT) systems, data links, and communications systems and radios. The company also focuses on the upgrading of existing military platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security, and commercial aviation applications, and providing a range of support services, including training and simulation systems.