Sabrah is a tracked or wheeled light tank manufactured by Elbit Systems, a defence manufacturing company based in Israel. It is designed to complement the fleet of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) operated by the armed forces worldwide.
The tracked light tank configuration is based on the tracked ASCOD AFV platform, which is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), a part of aerospace and defence company General Dynamics. The wheeled light tank configuration is based on the 8X8 wheeled Pandur II platform supplied by Czech Republican military vehicles exporter Excalibur Army.
Elbit Systems received a three-year contract worth $172m to supply the Sabrah light tanks to the Philippine Army (PA) in January 2021.
The company is expected to deliver 20 Sabrah tracked light tanks mounted with 105mm guns to the PA in 2022. The PA will also receive ten units of Sabrah wheeled tanks based on Pandur II by 2023.
The Philippine government is procuring the tanks as part of the Light Tank Acquisition Project under Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Force of the Philippines Modernisation Program (RAFPMP).
Sabrah light tank design and features
Weighing 30t, the Sabrah light tank series has a modular design. It is equipped with a common 105mm manned turret for both tracked and wheeled configurations. The vehicle’s fully-electric turret drive provides stabilisation in both elevation and traverse. The dual-axis high-performance turret provides hunter-killer capability.
The tank provides an optimal combination of firepower and manoeuvrability. It can be configured to provide enhanced lethality.
Sabrah is fitted with armour protection systems to provide ballistic protection up to NATO STANG 4569 Level 4. The vehicle can be integrated with active protection systems. It includes the company’s TORCH-XTM battle management system.
The combat-proven armoured vehicle is also installed with electro-optical (EO) sights, fire control systems, and life support systems.
The Sabrah light tank is armed with a combination of an Elbit Systems Land 105mm gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. In addition, the armament includes eight 76mm smoke grenade launchers and two optional anti-tank guided missiles.
The 105mm/52 calibre coiled barrel, low recoil gun features a thermal shroud for increased probability of hitting the target. The gun is equipped with an integrated muzzle brake system. It fires at a rate of six rounds per minute with an effective range of 3,600m.
The gun uses NATO standard ammunition including armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive squash head (HESH), and high-explosive plastic tracer (HEP-T) rounds.
The high-explosive multi-purpose tracer (HE-MP-T) M110 round can also be fired from the 105mm gun. It can provide a lethal strike capability with high hit probability and low collateral damage.
The ammunition is loaded using an autoloader with a manual backup loading. The tank has 12 ready-to-use ammunition rounds located in the autoloader drum and an additional 24 stored in the hull.
The machine gun uses 500 ready-to-fire rounds of 7.62mm and 1,500 rounds stowed in the hull.
Observation and fire control
The light tank can be equipped with a panoramic sight system with day and night-vision EO sensors for effective fighting support during day and night in all weather conditions. The panoramic sight is used to observe and aim targets effectively.
A high-definition colour camera with zoom is used for daylight operations, while a thermal sight with 3µ to 6µ detector is used for night vision operations.
The Sabrah tank can launch fire on fixed and mobile targets due to the dual-axis line of sight stabilisation. A sophisticated fire control system aboard the tank controls the fire and assists in targeting and engagement of the target.
Communications and sensors onboard Sabrah
The system features navigation and communication systems, including E-LynXTM software-defined radio.
An auto-tracker system increases the hit probability of the system on the move, while a laser range finder aboard the tank can measure distances of 7,000m.
Meteorological sensors can be incorporated optionally to measure variables such as wind, pressure and temperature for improved ballistics. Other optional systems include a laser warning system, and see-through head-mounted display technology.
Sabrah light tank platforms
The ASCOD base platform of the Sabrah ASCOD (tracked) light tank is a seven-wheel station chassis with a light armoured steel structure. It provides advanced mobility and mine protection capabilities due to ongoing technology upgrades, which are possible thanks to the open system architecture of the platform.
The vehicle is powered by an eight-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a hydro-mechanical transmission system.
The Pandur II platform of the Sabrah Pandur II (wheeled) light tank features a robust chassis with higher ground clearance and enhanced protection. The heavy-duty chassis enables high off-road performance. The 8×8 vehicle is designed to carry up to 14 crew.
The platform is equipped with an automatic drivetrain management system, which adjusts the power supplied to each axle and wheel based on the terrain surface and driving conditions.
The power pack includes a Cummins Diesel ISLe T450 HPCR engine with automatic transmission, and cooling system. Other components of the power pack include electric generator, air intake and exhaust systems, air-condition compressor, hydraulic pump, and drive shaft.