Philippine Army Artillery Regiment Conducts Live Fire Exercise of ATMOS Howitzers
Philippine Army Artillery Regiment Conducts Live Fire Exercise of ATMOS Howitzers

Philippine Army Activates New Artillery Regiment to Operate Israel-made ATMOS Howitzers

The Philippine Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) has activated a new unit, the 10th Field Artillery “Rolling Thunder” Battalion (155 SP), which will operate the 12 newly-acquired 155mm self-propelled howitzers from Israel. The 10th Field Artillery was activated during the AAR’s 15th founding anniversary in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on June 22. The 10th Field Artillery will be led by Lt. Col. Chamberlain A. Esmino. PA Inspector General, Maj. Gen. Roy M. Galido, who represented Army commander Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., headed the activation ceremonies. Earlier, the AAR announced that it had test-fired for the first time its newly-acquired Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS) 155mm/52 caliber self-propelled artillery pieces.

”This newly activated unit will surely contribute to our continuing victory in the conduct of combined arms operations. As Artilyeros, let us not forget the characteristics that make you the best—speed and accuracy. Speed in providing the much-needed fire support to troops and accuracy in hitting only designated targets and avoiding collateral damage. The weapon incorporates an ‘inertial navigation system’ (INS)-based gun-laying method and an automatic loader. The shore-based air defense system is considered a significant part of all reliable coastal defense systems that protect strategic assets and infrastructures,” Maj. Gen. Roy M. Galido said in his speech.

One of twelve ATMOS 155 mm howitzer units that will be under the 10th Field Artillery “Rolling Thunder” Battalion (155 SP) during the unit’s activation ceremony in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on June 22, 2022.(Photo by Philippine Army)

The Philippine Army received 12 ATMOS howitzer units in December 2021 from Israeli defense company Elbit Systems. . The ATMOS 155 mm howitzer system is a “shoot-and-scoot” weapon that can be rapidly deployed in rugged terrain. The weapon incorporates an “inertial navigation system” (INS)-based gun-laying method and an automatic loader. The self-propelled artillery pieces are procured under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Plan. It confirmed that the ATMOS contract has a value of PHP2.386 billion (USD47.2 million) and features the supply and delivery of 12 units.

ATMOS is a 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled gun system manufactured by Israeli military manufacturer Soltam Systems (now Elbit System). The ATMOS is fitted with a 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance which conforms to NATO Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU), and is mounted on a 6 × 6 cross-country truck chassis. With a 155 mm/52 barrel, a 41 km maximum range can be achieved, using Extended Range Full-Bore – Base Bleed (ERFB-BB) projectile, 30 km firing the NATO L15 High Explosive (HE) projectile and 24.5 km firing the older M107 HE projectile.

Unfurling of the 10th Field Artillery “Rolling Thunder” Battalion (155 SP) unit color during the Army Artillery Regiment’s 15th founding anniversary celebration in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on June 22, 2022.(Photo by Philippine Army)