The Armor Division of the Philippine Army (PA) got another boost with the arrival of one of its newly-acquired Sabrah light tanks. The tank was displayed during the 87th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday, which was graced by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. It added that the rest of these assets will arrive in early 2023 which is composed of “wheeled and tracked Sabrah light Tanks” that would beef up the 1st Tank Battalion’s fleet of armored vehicles. The Sabrah light tank arrived earlier this month and is now undergoing rigorous testing before being accepted for service. The Armor Division is expected to receive 20 new Sabrah light tanks from Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Land and 10 Pandur II wheeled armored vehicles from Steyr-Daimler-Puch between 2023 to 2024.
“One Sabrah light tank based on the ASCOD platform mounted with 105mm cannon as the main armament and coaxial 7.62 machine gun was one of the Armor ‘Pambato’ Division’s newest assets that paraded over the 87th founding anniversary of the AFP on December 19, 2022, at the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Moreover, the command installed 234 very small aperture terminals in remote patrol bases to provide connectivity to troops and outlying communities. To deal with emerging threats, the command activated units such as the 10th Field Artillery Battalion (SP-155), cyber battalion, five installation management battalions, and three infantry battalions. It also reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion which will serve as the mother unit of existing and upcoming tank assets of the PA,” the PA’s Armor Division said in a Facebook post on Monday night.
The Sabrah Light Tank is a tank designed by Elbit Systems based on the ASCOD and Pandur II platforms. The PA’s light tank acquisition project is under Horizon 2 of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. The contract is worth around PHP9.4 billion and was acquired via government-to-government mode. Sabrah is a tracked or wheeled light tank manufactured by Elbit Systems, a defence manufacturing company based in Israel. It is designed to complement the fleet of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) operated by the armed forces worldwide. The tracked light tank configuration is based on the tracked ASCOD 2 AFV platform, which is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems – Santa Bárbara Sistemas – (GDELS-SBS). The wheeled light tank configuration is based on the 8×8 wheeled Pandur II platform supplied by the Czech military vehicles exporter Excalibur Army.
Weighing 30t, the Sabrah light tank series has a modular design. The Sabrah is fitted with armour protection systems to provide ballistic protection up to NATO STANAG 4569 Level 4. The vehicle can be integrated with active protection systems. It is equipped with a common 105mm manned turret for both tracked and wheeled configurations. The vehicle’s fully-electric turret drive provides stabilization in both elevation and traverse. The dual-axis high-performance turret provides hunter-killer capability. The tank provides an optimal combination of firepower and maneuverability. It can be configured to provide enhanced lethality. It includes the company’s TORCH-X battle management system. The combat-proven armoured vehicle is also installed with electro-optical (EO) sights, fire control systems, and life support systems.