The Philippine Army’s Artillery Regiment (AAR) has activated the 10th Field Artillery, a new unit to operate 155mm self-propelled howitzers.

The new unit was formed during the AAR’s 15th founding anniversary held in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, said Philippine Army (PA) spokesperson colonel Xerxes Trinidad in a statement.

Lieutenant colonel Chamberlain A Esmino will lead the 10th Field Artillery unit, which will operate 12 Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS) 155mm calibre units procured from Israel defence company Elbit Systems.

PA inspector general, major general Roy Galido, representing Army commander lieutenant-general Romeo Brawner Jr, headed the activation ceremonies.

Galido said: “This newly activated unit will surely contribute to our continuing victory in the conduct of combined arms operations.

“As Artilyeros, let us not forget the characteristics that make you the best- speed and accuracy. Speed in providing the much-needed fire support to troops and accuracy in hitting only designated targets and avoiding collateral damage.”

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A ‘shoot-and-scoot’ weapon, the ATMOS 155mm howitzer system can be easily operated in tough terrains, according to Trinidad.

It also includes an inertial navigation system-based, gun-laying method and automatic loader, he added.

In December last year, the Army procured the howitzers, worth PHP2.4bn ($43.69m), under the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernisation Program.

In April, the AAR announced the test-firing of the newly acquired artillery system, the Philippine News Agency reported.

Last week, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) announced the formation of its Shore-Based Air Defense System (SBADS) Battalion.