Ground Warfare

Philippine Army Enhances Coastal Defense Capabilities with ATMOS 2000 Howitzer in Balikatan 2024 Exercise

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Philippine Army Enhances Coastal Defense Capabilities with ATMOS 2000 Howitzer in Balikatan 2024 Exercise

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Philippine Army Enhances Coastal Defense Capabilities with ATMOS 2000 Howitzer in Balikatan 2024 Exercise
Philippine Army Enhances Coastal Defense Capabilities with ATMOS 2000 Howitzer in Balikatan 2024 Exercise

During the Balikatan 2024 Exercise held in Ilocos Norte, the Philippine military showcased its proficiency in coastal defense strategies through live-fire drills featuring the ATMOS 2000 self-propelled howitzer. According to updates shared on the Philippine Army’s Facebook page, the exercises involved the deployment of 155mm and 105mm howitzers to counter simulated amphibious assaults. Conducted in collaboration with the United States, the Balikatan Exercise engaged nearly 17,000 troops, including observers from 14 nations. This large-scale military operation, spanning from April 22 to May 10, took place against a backdrop of heightened tensions in the South China Sea and along the southern coasts of Taiwan.

The howitzer platoon of the 3rd Self-Propelled Battery, 10th Field Artillery Battalion (10FAB) utilizing the ATMOS 2000 self-propelled gun fires at an off-shore target during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024.?
The howitzer platoon of the 3rd Self-Propelled Battery, 10th Field Artillery Battalion (10FAB) utilizing the ATMOS 2000 self-propelled gun fires at an off-shore target during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)?

The significance of this year’s exercises was underscored by the inclusion of advanced weaponry and the substantial participation of international forces. Among the notable assets utilized during the drills were the Typhon ground-based missile system, capable of striking targets up to 1,600 kilometers away, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), renowned for its effectiveness in conflict zones such as Ukraine. The Philippines also debuted the C-star naval missile system, boasting a range of 140 kilometers. By staging these exercises beyond its territorial waters, the Philippines aimed to assert its sovereignty while challenging China’s expansive claims in the region, particularly near the Spratly Islands and the western coast of Palawan.

The howitzer platoon of the Bravo Battery, 5th Field Artillery Battalion (5FAB) utilizing a towed gun prepares to hit their off-shore target during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024.?
The howitzer platoon of the Bravo Battery, 5th Field Artillery Battalion (5FAB) utilizing a towed gun prepares to hit their off-shore target during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)

Of particular significance was the inclusion of the ATMOS 2000 self-propelled howitzer in the live-fire scenarios, demonstrating its role in defending against amphibious assaults. Manufactured by Israeli company Elbit Systems, through its subsidiary Soltam Systems, the ATMOS 155mm/52cal boasts exceptional mobility and formidable firepower, capable of launching projectiles up to 41 kilometers. Procured under the Horizon 2 modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the acquisition involved a contract for 12 units, totaling approximately 47 million USD, which was finalized in December 2021. This deployment underscores the Philippines’ commitment to enhancing its coastal defense capabilities and modernizing its armed forces to address evolving security challenges in the region.

 Army Artillery Regiment's howitzer platoons strike their off-shore targets during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)
Army Artillery Regiment’s howitzer platoons strike their off-shore targets during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)

ATMOS (Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System) is a 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled gun system manufactured by Israeli military manufacturer Soltam Systems. The system is long range, fast moving, truck mounted with high firepower and mobility, rapid deployment, short response time, operable in all terrain areas. The system is integrated with a fully computerized system, providing an automatic control, accurate navigation and target acquisition, the system is offered with various gun barrel lengths, ranging from 39 to 52 calibre, in order to meet different customer requirements. With a 155 mm/52 barrel, a 41 km (25 mi) maximum range can be achieved, using Extended Range Full-Bore – Base Bleed (ERFB-BB) projectile, 30 km (19 mi) firing the NATO L15 High Explosive (HE) projectile and 24.5 km (15.2 mi) firing the older M107 HE projectile.

Philippine Army Enhances Coastal Defense Capabilities with ATMOS 2000 Howitzer in Balikatan 2024 Exercise
The howitzer platoons of Bravo Battery, 5th Field Artillery Battalion (5FAB) and 3rd Self-Propelled Battery, 10th Field Artillery Battalion (10FAB) aim at their off-shore targets during the Counter-Landing live fire drill at the Sand Dunes, La Paz, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on May 6, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)

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