PH army to receive new tanks and personnel carriers from Israel by year-end

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In an ongoing modernization program, the Philippine military has announced that it will receive Sabrah Ascod light tanks and Pandur II armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Israel this month.

The 20 Israeli armored vehicles are outfitted with 105mm guns, 105mm cannons, and automated 120mm carrier mortars.

MODERN WEAPON: The Armed Forces of the Philippines will be receiving this month 20 Sabrah Ascod light tanks made in Israel as part of its modernization program. | Photo: AFP

The new ground vehicles, according to Armor Division chief of staff Col. Anthon Abrina, are “real tanks” in comparison to the country’s current armored vehicles, which are only armed 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.”

The Sabrah Ascod light tanks and Pandur II armored personnel carriers will be handed over to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac province once delivery is completed. The service will also hire maintenance personnel.

Abrina also revealed that the country will receive six-wheeled tanks to replace its four-wheeled armored vehicles, in addition to the Sabrah Ascod and Pandur II APCs.

He also stated that ten more light tanks will be delivered by 2023.

The Philippine military currently operates over 400 APCs of various types, including the Simba fighting vehicle, the V150 commando, the armored infantry fighting vehicle, and the M113 A1 and A2.

In addition, the Southeast Asian country will receive a number of South Korean weapon systems and military equipment, such as rocket systems, ammunition, and patrol vessels.

The government has also set aside 62 billion pesos for the purchase of 32 more S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopters from Polish aerospace manufacturer PZL Mielec, as well as six offshore patrol vessels from Australian shipbuilder Austal.

Meanwhile, Turkey has announced that the Philippine Air Force will receive its first T129 tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter this month. High-powered weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and a 20-mm turreted three-barrel gun system can be carried by the aircraft.

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