The Philippine military has announced that it is receiving Sabrah Ascod light tanks and Pandur II armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Israel this month in an ongoing modernization program.
The 20 Israeli armored vehicles include 105mm guns, 105mm cannons, and automated 120-mm carrier mortars.
According to Armor Division chief of staff Col. Anthon Abrina, the new ground vehicles are “real tanks” compared to the country’s present armored vehicles, equipped only with low-caliber firearms.
“Those that are arriving will be the first light tanks for the whole Armed Forces because its deployment would be more [centered] on territorial defense,” Abrina told Inquirer.net. “The current inventory of APCs are for internal security operations.”
When delivery is complete, the Sabrah Ascod light tanks and Pandur II armored personnel carriers will be turned over to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac province. The service will also hire personnel for maintenance.
More Military Equipment Arriving
In addition to the Sabrah Ascod and Pandur II APCs, Abrina revealed that the country will take delivery of six-wheeled tanks to replace its four-wheeled armored vehicles. He also said that 10 more light tanks are scheduled for delivery by 2023.
The Philippine military currently operates more than 400 APCs of different variants, such as the Simba fighting vehicle, V150 commando, armored infantry fighting vehicle, and the M113 A1 and A2.
Additionally, the southeast Asian nation will receive several South Korean weapon systems and military equipment, including rocket systems, ammunition, and patrol vessels.
The government has also allocated 62 billion pesos to purchase 32 more S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopters from Polish aerospace manufacturer PZL Mielec and six offshore patrol vessels from Australian shipbuilding firm Austal.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force announced that it will receive its first-ever T129 tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter from Turkey this month. The aircraft can carry high-powered weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and a 20-mm turreted three-barrel gun system.