Army displays state-of-the-art APCs
CAPAS, Tarlac – “These [armored personnel carriers] are what the Philippine Army is waiting for.”
With those words echoing from the stage announcer, the Philippine Army showcased on Monday the capabilities of six newly delivered APCs (APCM113A2) with remote control weapon system (RCWS) which are seen to boost its arsenal with latest technologies.
The fighting vehicles’ weapon system can be remotely controlled through controller’s handles and gunner’s display unit. It mounts an M2 heavy barrel cal. 50 machine gun.
The APCs can fire accurately while stationary or while moving, and can engage long distance targets with accuracy. It can also detect and acquire targets in both day and night.
Each vehicle weighs 10.7 tons and can carry 11 soldiers including its crew. It has a top land speed of 64 kilometers per hour and top water speed of 5.6 kph.
The first six of 28 refurbished APCs delivered were presented before Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri and top ranking military officers.
The APCs displayed their firing capabilities — the gunners fired the weapon in bursts. It was set to three bullets, six bullets and in full automatic burst.
“I’m very satisfied from the mobility and firepower capabilities of these new armored assets,” Mechanized Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cruz told reporters at Camp O’Donnell.
“I told those commanders of the vehicles that they are the start of the new generation of our fighting capabilities,” he added.
The armored vehicle acquisition project is part of the AFP’s modernization program. The APCs were ordered from Israeli manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd. for P882 million. Six were delivered in June and the rest will be delivered in batches— February and May in 2016, tentatively.
Fourteen of the units will be configured as fire support vehicles, four units as Infantry fighting vehicles, six armored personnel carriers, four armored recovery vehicles. These will be equipped with weapons systems ranging from cal. 50, 25 mm and 76 mm cannons. Twenty-four of the 28 vehicles will have the RCWS.
The first batch of vehicles is undergoing test and evaluation before they will be formally accepted by the Army.
Dela Cruz said that the vehicles were refurbished but have never been used by Israel.
Gazmin said the vehicles will be a boost in combat operations.
“This will be very effective in combat operations,” he said.
Dela Cruz said the APCs would have helped in the Zamboanga crisis in 2013.
“Siguro mas madali nating na-solve yung Zamboanga crisis kasi kung ire-review niyo yung footage niyo ang talagang nag-play ng major role dun ang Scorpion tanks at Simba. However, yung Simba natin hindi naman remote controlled and yung Scorpion tanks,” he said.