Ground Warfare

Philippine Army Completes Initial Training on Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tank

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Philippine Army Completes Initial Training on Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tank

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Philippine Army Completes Initial Training on Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tank
Philippine Army Completes Initial Training on Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tank

On 14th February 2024, General Dynamics European Land Systems – Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS), the Spanish subsidiary of GDELS, proudly announced the successful completion of comprehensive training sessions for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the ASCOD LT105 light tank. This significant milestone marks a crucial step in enhancing the operational capabilities of the Philippine Army. Conducted between 24th January and 9th February 2024 at the Camp O’Donnell military base in Capas (Tarlac), Luzon, the training courses catered to personnel from the First Tank Battalion of the Philippine Army’s First Armored Division, along with specialists from the Philippine Army’s Armored Vehicle Maintenance Battalion. The program included a primary course covering operations, driving, and maintenance for 28 drivers and 15 commanders, followed by a second course focused on second-echelon maintenance, which involved 15 Philippine Army mechanics. Additionally, a pre-deployment driving course was administered at GDELS’ Alcalá de Guadaíra factory near Seville.

Engineers and the First Tank Battalion of the Philippine Army's First Armored Division after completing training in front of an ASCOD light tank
Engineers and the First Tank Battalion of the Philippine Army’s First Armored Division after completing training in front of a Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tank. (Photo by GDELS-SBS)

The ASCOD 2LT105 light tank, a member of the ASCOD family, has been delivered to the Philippines in collaboration with Israel’s Elbit Systems. Known as the Sabrah, this adaptation boasts superior protection, mobility, and adaptability to diverse combat scenarios. The delivery encompasses three variants: the LT105 light tank, a command post vehicle featuring Elbit’s UT 25 unmanned turret, and a recovery vehicle variant. Designed by Elbit Systems, the Sabrah Light Tank complements the existing fleet of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) utilized by armed forces globally. The tracked configuration is based on the ASCOD platform, manufactured by GDELS-SBS, a subsidiary of General Dynamics. Elbit Systems secured a significant three-year contract worth $172 million in January 2021 to supply the Sabrah light tanks to the Philippine Army, contributing to the strengthening of AFP capabilities initiated by the reactivation of the First Tank Battalion of the First Armored Division in April 2022.

The Sabrah light tanks – pictured above from the Philippine Army training exercise – have a combat weight of 30 tonnes. They are capable of attaining a maximum onroad speed of 72 km/h.
The Sabrah (ASCOD 2) LT105 Light Tanks pictured above from the Philippine Army training exercise – have a combat weight of 30 tonnes. (Photo by GDELS-SBS)

The ASCOD family, a result of cooperation between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spanish General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas, now part of General Dynamics, has found utility in various countries, including Spain (as Pizarro), Austria (Ulan), and the United Kingdom (Ajax). The LT 105 light tank, equipped with a 105 mm gun, forms part of this versatile family, alongside other configurations such as a surface-to-air missile launcher, anti-tank guided missile launcher, mortar carrier, R&R vehicle, command-and-control vehicle, ambulance, artillery observer, and the AIFV model. Notably, the M10 Booker, a light tank based on the Griffin II platform derived from the ASCOD 2, emerged victorious in June 2022 as the selected winner of the US Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower program. This recognition further solidifies the ASCOD family’s position as a globally valued and adaptable armored fighting vehicle.

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