The Philippine Department of National Defence has given approval to upgrade its army’s 12 aging Scorpion tanks as part of the command’s capability upgrade programme.

Philippine Army spokesman colonel Antonio Parlade said a project management team has been set up and has proposed a PHP200m ($4.6m) upgrade that includes installation of new diesel engines in the 12 operational tanks.

The proposal also includes providing new engines to six additional Scorpions that are mothballed because of non-availability of engines.

A 7,875kg Scorpion tank has a maximum speed of 72km/h and is equipped with a main gun as well as a 7.62mm machine gun, according to ABS-CBN News.

The army’s light armour division also maintains other vehicles, such as armoured infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, V-150s and Simbas.