The Philippine Army (PA) is expected to receive 10 new Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Land Sabrah ASCOD Wheeled Light Tanks (Tank Destroyers) which are expected to greatly enhance its armor capabilities. Israeli Company Elbit Systems has designed a new light that is available in two configurations including a tracked variant based on the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) ASCOD 2 and a wheeled version based on the wheeled Pandur II 8X8 platform manufactured by Excalibur Army from the Czech Republic. These vehicles will comprise the planned 1st Tank Battalion of the PA Armor Division. The contract is worth around PHP9.4 billion and was acquired via government-to-government mode.
The Philippine News Agency reported that in a message Thursday night, Col. Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, said,”These armored vehicles are part of the Army’s Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Program (RAFPMP). 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. Meanwhile, another 10 Sabrah PANDUR II (Wheeled) Light Tanks, are scheduled to be delivered by 2023.”
The Sabrah Light Tank (Pandur Tank Destroyer) wheeled version is a new variant developed and offered by Elbit Systems for the Philippine Army’s Light Tank Acquisition Project. It uses the Pandur II 8×8 platform fitted with a new turret armed with a 105 mm gun developed by Elbit in partnership with Denel Land Systems. The “Sabrah” turret design benefits from the reference of Elbit System and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Merkava “Directorate” MANTAK combat-proven Armored Vehicles. The turrets, Fire Control Systems (FCS), electro-optics, and 105mm tank guns are in use by the IDF as well as numerous other armed forces around the world. Two men turret combine Automatic Loader operated by the Gunner and Commander.
The Pandur II is an improved modular all-wheel-drive version of the Pandur 6×6 APC wheeled armored vehicle. It was developed as a private venture by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge. Pandur 2 Tank Destroyer (Fire Support Vehicle) is a member of the whole armored vehicle family. This Tank Destroyer was developed with a choice of two 105/120 mm turret variants. One of them was armed with a CMI Defence CT-CV turret, while the other was fitted with OTO Melara HITFACT turret. In January 2015, Czech company Excalibur Army signed an agreement with GDELS-Steyr for the licence to exclusively market, sell and service the Pandur II 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle family.