Philippines receives Merkava IV-based armored bridgelayers from Elbit Systems


One of the Merkava IV platforms delivered to the Philippine Army as it was being unloaded from a cargo ship last 12 July 2022. Photo c/o Philippine Army.

The Philippine Army (PA) confirmed that the two new armored vehicle launched bridge (AVLB) it ordered from Israel's Elbit Systems have arrived on 12 July 2022.

Based on the photos released by the Philippine Army, the new bridge-layers are using an armored vehicle platform based on the Israeli-made Merkava IV main battle tank.

This appears to be the first time the Merkava series are exported by Israel since 1979 when the type has started production.

According to Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines, the new AVLB are based on the Joint Assault Bridge developed by Leonardo DRS and Israel Military Industries (IMI) which is now part of Elbit Systems.

The difference is the Philippine Army version is that the bridge has a longer span, and it uses a different armored vehicle platform, in this case the Merkava Mk. IV instead of the M1A2 Abrams.

The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) awarded the project to the joint venture of Elbit Systems Land & C4I, and IMI Systems Ltd. on December 2018, and the US$27.7 million contract signed  in late 2019. 

The specifications of the Philippine Army's AVLB requires it to have a maximum operating weight of  60 tons, with the bridge span at least 18 meters long, roadway width of at least 3.5 meters, and has a MLC 50 military classification.

In a social media post by the Philippine Army, it described the new AVLBs as game changer capabilities for its engineer combat battalions, and will be due for Post-Delivery Technical Inspections before acceptance and deployment.

This is the Philippine Army's mobile bridge-layer, and the service aims to procure additional systems in the future as its armored and mechanized fleet are expected to grow as part of its modernization program.

[1] Philippine Army
[2] Philippine Defense Resource
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Philippines receives Merkava IV-based armored bridgelayers from Elbit Systems Philippines receives Merkava IV-based armored bridgelayers from Elbit Systems Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on July 14, 2022 Rating: 5

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