The Philippine Navy in collaboration with the Government of India, completed the Light Armor System Upgrade (LARSU) project in a ceremony at Bonifacio Naval Station Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on September 19, 2023. Selected upgraded Light Armor Vehicles were ceremoniously handed over to the Navy’s Marine Corps and Air Force’s Special Operations Wing during the occassion. In 2019, the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) has awarded Indian company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) the acquisition project for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s Light Armor System Upgrade (LARSU), for a budget of $US 14 million.
The event was graced by the Department of National Defense Under Secretary Irineo C Espino and Republic of India Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Shambu S. Kumaran. The presence of these personalities is a testament of the enduring friendship between the Philippines and India. The successful completion of the LARSU project serves as a symbol of the commitment to further strengthen defense ties and promote regional stability. With the enhanced capabilities provided by the LARSU project, the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force are poised to uphold their duty to protect and serve the Filipino people, contributing to the nation’s overall security and development.
This upgrade is intended to be used by the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force to enhance the operational readiness of line units. It has been decided to improve the Light Armor Vehicles (LAVs) of both the Marines’ and Air Force’s Components. These already existing vehicles have proven their efficiency as armor combat support in amphibious and mechanised operations ashore. They also may be operational to take care of the urban security. Therefore, the Philippine DND must replace deteriorating engine and spare parts of these LAVs to maintain their utility in the future, which will be the mission of the Indian company L&T.
The Philippine Navy on behalf of the Marine Corps has combined its efforts with the Philippine Air Force (to upgrade their fleet of Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando 4×4 armored vehicles, as well as V-300 6×6 armored vehicles of the Marine Corps. The Cadillac Gage Commando, frequently denoted as the M706 in U.S. military service, is an American armored car designed to be amphibious. The Cadillac Gage V-150’s hull was also designed specifically to carry heavier weapons systems, such as large smoothbore guns for fire support and anti-tank purposes. Originally named as the V-300, the Cadillac Gage LAV-300 is a 6×6 variant originally designed for a heavy weapons support role.