12 April 2011
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Army will upgrade 12 of its aging Scorpion tanks for around P200 million as part of the command's capability upgrade program.
Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade said a project management team was formed last week to look for possible proponents for the project, after getting the go signal from the Department of National Defense.
The military establishment planned to upgrade the tanks, which are detailed with the Army's Light Armor Division several years ago, but this was shelved by the government due to alleged irregularities in the project.
"It was formed last week when a meeting was called to discuss the upgrade projects," said Parlade of the Project Management Team. "The DND [Department of National Defense] gave the go-signal (to proceed with the project)."
Parlade said some of the proponents being looked into proposed to install new diesel engines in the 12 operational tanks and provide new engines to 6 more Scorpions that are not working because they had no engine.
“So it will be 18 (upgraded tanks) for the same budget," he said.
He added that the tanks’ engines, which are currently gasoline powered, need to be upgraded. "They've reached their maximum life," he said.
"These are important, especially in our (operations), in Central Mindanao," said Parlade.
The military is upgrading its capabilities by buying armaments and equipment and upgrading some assets in the fight against internal security threats.
Apart from the Scorpion tanks, the Army's Light Armor Division maintains a number of other vehicles like armored infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, V-150s, and Simbas.
A Scorpion tank, which has a maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour and weighs 7,875 kilograms, is equipped with a main gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun.