Philippines receives first batch of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks


One of the ASCOD Sabrah light tanks delivered to the Philippine Army. Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines.

Reports from several defense and social media pages from the Philippines confirmed that the Philippine Army has received the first two units of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks it ordered from Israel's Elbit Systems.

Photos posted by several pages show the tanks delivered with the tracked armored vehicle and turrets separate from each other, and were installed in the Philippines by technicians from the Philippine Army and Elbit Systems.

Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that two tanks arrived within December 2022, allowing Elbit Systems to meet its contractual obligations to deliver the initial batch by 2022, despite Elbit Systems requesting for time extension for the delivery deadline.

The tanks were said to have undergone firing tests 

It was reported that the tanks were delivered just in time to participate in the upcoming parade on 19 December 2022 to celebrate the 87th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

The ASCOD Sabrah light tank is a combination of two systems. The ASCOD Pizarro II tracked armored vehicle built by Santa Barbara Sistemas of Spain which is division of General Dynamics European Land Systems; and the Sabrah turret and combat system made by Israel's Elbit Systems.

The ASCOD Pizarro II is the Spanish variant's latest version of the ASCOD, with the Spanish Army receiving the Castor sappers vehicle which appears to be externally similar to the ones delivered to the Philippine Army.

The Sabrah combat system combines a turret developed by the Israel Defense Force's Ordnance Corps MANTAK, which also designed the turret system on the Merkava main battle tank, with several subsystems from Elbit Systems including the 105mm/52 cailber tank cannon, autoloader system, panoramic sight system with day and night-capable electro-optical sensors, fire control system, battlefield command and control system, and communications systems.

The Philippines is expected to receive 18 ASCOD Sabrah light tanks, 10 Pandur II Sabrah wheeled tanks, and a few command and recovery vehicles based on the ASCOD Pizarro II platform.

The entire delivery is expected to be completed by 2023, with the tanks to be assigned with the Philippine Army's sole Armored Division.

The Philippine Army remains one of the few countries in Asia without proper tanks, although the need for tanks was among the lessons learned during urban combat operations when it fought ISIS-inspired terrorists to liberate Marawi City in 2017.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines
[2] Philippine Defense Resource

Philippines receives first batch of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks Philippines receives first batch of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on December 19, 2022 Rating: 5

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