The Philippine Army is deploying some of its newest self-propelled 155mm Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS 2000) 155mm guns in Mindanao to support counter-terrorist operations.
Twelve howitzers were acquired from Elbit Systems in a US$47 million contract signed in 2020. The Army received the systems in December 2021. The howitzers are assigned to the 10th Field Artillery Battalion “Rolling Thunder” which was activated in June 2022. The guns are organized into three batteries of four guns each. Secretary Under Jose C. Faustino Jr led the send-off ceremony at Philippine Army Fort Bonifacio on 21 September.
The ATMOS Army Chief LtGen Romeo S. Brawner Jr “is a game-changer weapon system”. The howitzer is mounted on an MAN 6 X 6 tactical truck chassis with a four-door armoured cab. With integrated on-board positioning and Inertial (INS) navigation, the system is able to be rapidly placed into action from the move.
With automatic loading and a digital fire control it can delivery accurate fires to a range of up to 41 kilometers. The 155mm/52 caliber howitzer is able to fire the full catalog of NATO ammunition including precision projectiles. The system has onboard storage for up to 27 rounds a minute.
An advantage of ATMOS is that it offers high accuracy and “shoot and scoot” operation yet can operate on the existing road network and bridges found in the country. They are able to deploy even in rugged terrain while being able to respond to mission demands more quickly than towed howitzers.
The past six months have seen the Army conducting training on the new systems which included a series of live-firing exercises in March/April. The ATMOS artillery pieces were procured under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Plan.
by Stephen W. Miller