The Philippine Army (PA) has reactivated the Armored Division’s 1st Tank Battalion in an effort to further enhance its capabilities in the face of evolving security threats, the report reported. Philippine News Agency.
The first tank battalion was officially activated in September 1958, but was later deactivated in 1961 due to high maintenance costs.
The reactivated tank battalion at Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, will support ground operations.
It will be equipped with assets such as 18 Sabrah ASCOD light tanks, ten Pandur 8×8 wheeled light tanks, a tank gunnery simulator, a command vehicle and a recovery vehicle.
The Philippine Army expects to receive the Sabrah ASCOD light tanks this year, while the Pandur tanks are expected to be delivered in 2023.
Light tanks are acquired through a government-to-government program.
Following the reactivation, Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. told the news agency, “In terms of the future operational landscape, the PA has reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion to provide our infantry and mechanized infantry forces with advanced firepower capability and improve protection standards, particularly in the conduct of contingency missions, and combined arms and joint operations in the country”.
The Philippine Army disbanded the 8th Cavalry Company after the reactivation of the 1st Tank Battalion to shift its focus to the new unit.
Last year, the Philippine military received a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105 general-purpose rotorcraft helicopter as a donation.
The helicopter was donated to the Palestinian Authority’s “Hiraya” aviation regiment.