Philippine Army takes delivery of new tracked armoured bridgelayers

The new tracked Armoured Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB) Systems.
The new tracked Armoured Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB) Systems.

The Philippine Army announced on 14 July that it has received two new tracked armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) systems.

The new AVLBs, which were delivered via ship and arrived at Batangas Port on 12 July, will be inspected by the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee of the Department of National Defense’s Procurement Service and will be assigned to the army’s combat engineer battalions thereafter.

The service added that the AVLBs were acquired via a Philippine-Israel government-to-government deal under the auspices of the Horizon Two phase of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

An AVLB is a combat support platform that enables other combat and logistics vehicles to traverse man-made and natural obstacles such as anti-tank ditches, destroyed bridges, craters, canals, rivers and ravines, by unfolding its bridge payload to span the obstacle, typically without additional support equipment.

“The assets will boost the capabilities of Army engineer combat battalions in supporting maneuver units by providing mobility during operations,” Philippine Army spokesperson Colonel Xerxes Trinidad told the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The service did not provide details of the AVLBs, although it has been widely reported that the vehicles were supplied by Israeli defence prime Elbit Systems and based on the Merkava IV main battle tank chassis. Should these reports be accurate, the deal would mark the first known export of a Merkava IV platform type.

Besides the new tracked AVLBs, the Philippine army has awarded a contract in June 2021 for two Dry Support Bridge (DSB) from UK-based company WFEL. Based on the Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) 10×10 truck chassis, the DSBs can be fully deployed in about 90 minutes and will feature pedestrian walkways. The army plans to use the DSBs for military and disaster relief operations after their expected delivery in 2023.

by Jr Ng