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Philippine Army to get new Sabrah light tanks and Pandur II IFVs

Defense News May 2022 Global Security army industry

Posted On Monday, 02 May 2022 14:48

The Philippine Army is about to increase its tank fleet with 20 Israeli-made Sabrah Light Tanks and Pandur II IFVs. According to Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the upcoming armored vehicles are part of the army's Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Program (RAFPMP),

The Philippine Army is about to increase its tank fleet with Israeli-made Sabrah light tanks and Pandur II IFVs.

As part of the Light Tank Acquisition Project under the Horizon 2 of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), the 20 units of Sabrah tracked light tanks are expected to be delivered this year”, said Trinidad.

Elbit Systems won the Light Tank Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army. They will supply ASCOD 2 platform in different configurations: 18 tracked light tanks, 10 wheeled light tanks(based on the Pandur II), 1 command vehicle and 1 recovery vehicle. (144 ASCOD Sabrah Light tanks originally planned).

Sabrah is a tracked or wheeled light tank manufactured by Elbit Systems, a defense 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 AFV platform, which is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), a part of aerospace and defense company General Dynamics.

Elbit Systems received a three-year contract worth $172m to supply the Sabrah light tanks to the Philippine Army (PA) in January 2021. The wheeled light tank configuration is based on the 8X8 wheeled Pandur II platform supplied by Czech Republican military vehicles exporter Excalibur Army.

Weighing 30t, the Sabrah light tank series has a modular design. 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.

The Sabrah is fitted with armor protection systems to provide ballistic protection up to NATO STANAG 4569 Level 4. The vehicle can be integrated with active protection systems. It includes the company’s Torch-XTM battle management system. The combat-proven armored vehicle is also installed with electro-optical (EO) sights, fire control systems, and life support systems.

Another 10 tanks are scheduled to be delivered by 2023 and these will be based on the Sabrah Pandur II platform. Unlike the regular Sabrah which rolls on tracks, the Pandur II are wheeled light tanks. It will also have a 105mm main gun. “These armored vehicles are mounted with 105mm cannons. As to their organization, the tanks will be organic to the proposed activation of 1st Tank Battalion of the Armor Division to compose the first modern light tank fleet of the PA,” added Trinidad.

The ASCOD base platform of the Sabrah ASCOD (tracked) light tank is a seven-wheel station chassis with a light armored steel structure. It provides advanced mobility and mine protection capabilities due to ongoing technology upgrades, which are possible thanks to the open system architecture of the platform. The vehicle is powered by an eight-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a hydro-mechanical transmission system.

The Pandur II platform of the Sabrah Pandur II (wheeled) light tank features a robust chassis with higher ground clearance and enhanced protection. The heavy-duty chassis enables high off-road performance. The 8×8 vehicle is designed to carry up to 14 crew. The platform is equipped with an automatic drive-train management system, which adjusts the power supplied to each axle and wheel based on the terrain surface and driving conditions. The power pack includes a Cummins Diesel ISLe T450 HPCR engine with automatic transmission and cooling system. Other components of the power pack include an electric generator, air intake and exhaust systems, air-condition compressor, hydraulic pump, and driveshaft.

(Picture source: Philippine Army)

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