The Philippine Army (PA) has reactivated the Armor Division’s 1st Tank Battalion in a bid to further strengthen its capabilities amid evolving security threats, reported the Philippine News Agency.

The first tank battalion was officially activated in September 1958, but it was then deactivated in 1961 due to high maintenance costs.

The reactivated tank battalion at Camp O’Donnell, in 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 scheduled to be delivered in 2023.

The light tanks are being acquired through a government-to-government scheme.

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Following the reactivation, Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Looking at the future operational landscape, the PA has reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion to provide our infantry and mechanised infantry forces with advanced firepower capability and enhance the standards of protection, especially in conducting contingency missions, and combined arms and joint operations in the country.”

The Philippine Army dissolved the 8th Cavalry Company after the reactivation of the 1st Tank Battalion to transfer its focus to the new unit.

Last year, the Philippine Army received a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105 multi-purpose rotorcraft helicopter as a donation.

The helicopter was given to PA’s Aviation ‘Hiraya’ Regiment.