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Philippine Army completes initial training on Sabrah ASCOD II combat vehicles

The Sabrah light tanks – pictured above from the Philippine Army training exercise – have a combat weight of 30 tonnes. They are capable of attaining a maximum onroad speed of 72 km/h. (GDELS)

The Philippine Army (PA) has completed the initial training courses on operations, driving, and maintenance of Sabrah ASCOD II combat vehicles.

According to a press release by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) on 14 February, the training courses were conducted by the Spanish subsidiary of GDELS for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the Camp O'Donnell military base located in the municipality of Capas, in Tarlac province, on the island of Luzon.

The courses were held between 29 January and 9 February and the personnel of the 1st Tank Battalion of the 1st Armored Division of the PA as well as specialists from the Armored Vehicle Maintenance Battalion participated in the training, GDELS said.

The training consisted of a course on operations, driving, and maintenance of the Sabrah ASCOD II combat vehicles for 28 drivers and 15 commanders, and a second course was dedicated to 2nd echelon maintenance with 15 mechanics of the PA, GDELS added.

GDELS said it has supplied – in co-operation with Israeli firm Elbit Systems – ASCOD II combat vehicles to the PA in three variants: light tank, command post vehicle with an unmanned turret, and armoured recovery vehicle (ARV).

In January 2021 the PA signed a contract worth USD172 million with Elbit Systems to procure 20 tracked Sabrah ASCOD II light tanks and 10 wheeled Sabrah Pandur II direct fire support vehicles.

The PA received the first Sabrah light tank in December 2022 and said at the time the tank would be operated by the 1st Tank Battalion.

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