MELBOURNE, Australia — Elbit Systems will supply tracked light tanks and wheeled fire-support vehicles to an army in the Asia-Pacific region under an approximately $172 million deal, the Israeli company announced Tuesday.
Elbit is acting as the prime contractor for the three-year program and will supply the Sabrah light tank, which is based on the tracked ASCOD platform manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems. Elbit will also supply the eight-wheel drive Pandur II vehicle manufactured by the Czech firm Excalibur Army.
An Elbit news release said the 30-ton Sabrah “provides a unique combination of powerful fire capacity and high maneuverability.” Both the tank and vehicle platforms will be equipped with a 105mm turret as well as a range of subsystems, including electro-optical sights, fire control systems, Torch-X battle management systems, E-Lynx software-defined radios and life support systems.
Elbit President & CEO Bezhalel Machlis said the contract “reflects the mutually beneficial strategic co-operation between Elbit Systems and GDELS, based on joint development and manufacturing of vehicle-turret solutions.”
Elbit’s news release did not reveal the numbers of each vehicle ordered nor identify the customer, although Defense News understands that the vehicles are destined for the Philippines. Previous unconfirmed reports suggest the contract will be for eight Sabras and 10 Pandur IIs, along with one command and one recovery vehicle.
The Philippine Department of National Defense has not confirmed it is the end user for the tanks. But if it is, this would mark the latest success for Elbit in the Southeast Asian country, having previously upgraded the country’s M113 armored personnel carriers.
That upgrade included equipping the M113s with Elbit’s battle management systems — the same ones that will be fitted to the Sabrah and Pandur vehicles in this new contract.
The Philippines also previously acquired Hermes 450 and 900 drones from Elbit.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News. He wrote his first defense-related magazine article in 1998 before pursuing an aerospace engineering degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Following a stint in engineering, he became a freelance defense reporter in 2013 and has written for several media outlets.