Philippine Army Enhances Capabilities with New ASCOD Tracked Armored Vehicles
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff 

Manila, February 14, 2024 — In collaboration with Israeli company Elbit Systems, GDELS-SBS has successfully conducted training sessions for the Philippine Army, focusing on the ASCOD-tracked armored vehicle. The training aimed to familiarize personnel from the First Tank Battalion of the Philippine Army’s First Armored Division and specialists from the Armored Vehicle Maintenance Battalion with the ASCOD family, particularly the SABRAH, a version customized for the Philippines.

The comprehensive training program included a course on the operation, driving, and maintenance of the ASCOD-tracked armored vehicle, covering 28 drivers and 15 commanders. Additionally, a second course focused on 2nd echelon maintenance for 15 Philippine Army mechanics. Before the training, a driving course took place at the GDELS factory in Alcalá de Guadaíra, near Seville.

The collaboration between GDELS-SBS and Elbit Systems resulted in the supply of new combat vehicles to the Philippine Army, enhancing its capabilities. The SABRAH, a variant of the ASCOD, stands out for its protection, mobility, and adaptability to diverse combat environments. The delivered variants include the Light Tank (LT105), the Command Post equipped with an unmanned UT 25 turret, and the Recovery Vehicle (ARV).

The Philippine Army’s decision to reactivate the First Tank Battalion of the First Armored Division in April 2022 aligns with efforts to bolster military capabilities. Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Army Chief, highlighted the strategic importance of reactivating the battalion to provide advanced firepower and raise protection standards during contingency missions and combined arms and joint operations.

The ASCOD vehicle, now in service in the Philippines, joins its counterparts in Spain (Pizarro), Austria (Ulan), and Great Britain (Ajax). As the fourth country to operate the ASCOD, the Philippines acquired the Sabrah light tanks as part of the Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Program (RAFPMP) in 2022.

The ASCOD boasts high mobility, agility, and maneuverability across various terrains. Its robust engine ensures a high power-to-weight ratio, facilitating rapid acceleration and top speed. Equipped with advanced suspension systems, the ASCOD excels in tactical maneuvering, providing stability over rough terrain and enhancing off-road capabilities.

Elbit Systems’ UT25 unmanned turret, mounted on the ASCOD, offers modern firepower with the flexibility to accommodate a 25 mm M242 automatic cannon or a 30 mm MK44 cannon. This advanced turret aligns with Elbit Systems’ commitment to delivering remotely operated armaments, ensuring crew safety within the vehicle’s armored protection while enhancing overall operational capabilities.

The acquisition of the ASCOD and Sabrah light tanks signifies a significant step forward for the Philippine Army, reinforcing its position with modern, adaptable, and technologically advanced armored vehicles.

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