The Philippine Army (PA) on Wednesday held send-off ceremonies for two batteries or eight units of the newly-acquired Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS) 155mm self-propelled guns which will be seeing action in conflict areas in Mindanao. The “Rolling Thunder” Battalion was activated in June 2022. Meanwhile, PA chief, Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., called on 10th Field Artillery Battalion troopers to further enhance their core competencies so they can “effectively and efficiently operate and maintain” the Army’s game-changer weapons systems.
PA spokesperson, Col. Xerxes Trinidad, in a statement Thursday said,“Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose C. Faustino Jr., led the send-off ceremonies which took place at the Philippine Army Grandstand in Fort Bonifacio. These assets are considered game-changers as they will certainly bolster the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s (AFP) internal security operations for a decisive victory against enemies of the state. We are optimistic about your capability. Thus, we expect you will contribute significantly to our peace efforts in all conflict-affected areas that you will be deployed.”
The ATMOS 155mm self-propelled guns are “easily deployed even in ragged terrain and truck-mounted guns not towed. These new weapons have a maximum range of 41 kilometers depending on the type of ammunition used and have “target precision of up to 10-kilometer radius. The ATMOS 155mm 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 ATMOS 2000 carries a total of 27 155 mm projectiles and associated charges and can be operated by a 4-man crew, consisting of two loaders positioned one either side at the rear.
The Philippine Army received 12 ATMOS howitzer units in December 2021 from Israeli defense company Elbit Systems. This would be the first time that the Philippine Army would operate brand new self-propelled howitzer systems. The self-propelled artillery pieces are procured under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Plan. It is worth PHP2.4 billion through a government-to-government deal with Israel. The ATMOS 155mmm howitzer system would augment the existing 155mm towed-howitzers being operated by the Army Artillery Regiment.