The Option of Having ATMOS 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer for the Philippine Army

The Philippine Army obtains a handful of howitzer cannons and other pieces of artillery that provides that bombardment support that will essentially be made to pulverize targets down to smithereens as it augments the operations taking place on the ground as the infantry and armor keeps on the action of eliminating that target especially on the premise of safeguarding overall safety, national security, and even ensuring the welfare of the country's citizenry that propels itself to development as one nation. 

While they obtain such kind of assets that packs such an insurmountable amount of firepower, it still does not dismiss the necessity of having a mobile, self-propelled version of such artillery where it will no longer require another vehicle to be deployed into another location.

ATMOS 2000 155mm/52 based on MAN HX 8×8 (X81). Image Source.
Many armies across the world always come with extra firepower which provides all of that shock and awe monstrosity that attains the objective of inflicting damage against the enemy, both in physical and psychological means wherein pieces of such extra firepower are bound to pound up munitions that are being aimed against the target which ensures pulverization of the very threatening party that may cause more inflicting arm if left unnoticed or unresolved.

Here come the power and an idea of having artillery units where through the years are considered an integral part of an army's unit component setup, a usual thing that comes with an idea of providing all of that firepower support that a ground infantry and armor needed to sustain damage at the enemy while getting lesser casualty from the friendly side, paving a way for an immediate series of offensive that may come easier after the artillery gets its job of minimizing the capability that the Opposition Force (OPFOR) have in returning fire.

The Philippine Army in itself is aspiring to have its own self-propelled artillery as it means it can move from one location to another as opposed to the usually-towed artillery that the service branch obtains such as the Soltam M71 155mm towed howitzers where it may no longer require another vehicle just to do that deployment of these artillery pieces to another location where it is needed the most.

Hence, the rationale for having such a decision of procurement planning boils down to the essence of time in correlation to the rapid deployment of such artillery wherein it comes with the efficiency of getting to its intended area of assignment and get started on supporting the ground troops in combat from there.

Since details of the procurement plans have already discussed by another defense page which provides the precedent on the very asset that this article is about to discuss with, it is worth to provide information regarding the development and in-detail specifications of this mobile artillery piece obtainable from multiple outlets with reputable research-related knowledge that provides the picture on how this artillery vehicle unfolds in regards to its capability that it will deliver to the Philippine Army.

Elbit Systems display in French Exhibition Eurosatory 2018.
Image Source.
About Us webpage:

Elbit Systems is an Israel-based defense company specialized in several military-related technologies ranging from drones to gun mounts which, being usual among military and defense industries, is one of the workhorses for the Israeli defense initiative as well as the core of Israel's showcase of defense technology for the international market.

Being a defense company which in itself is a bearer of Israel's best military technology that they provide for in the international market, it comes to no surprise so as with regards to Elbit's wide range of military products portfolio wherein it covers most of the aspects that go in the correlation of modern, systemic warfare. As listed on the about us section of their website, their defense activity offers to include the following:

• military aircraft and helicopter systems;
• helmet-mounted systems;
• commercial aviation systems and aerostructures;
• unmanned aircraft systems and unmanned surface vessels;
• electro-optic and countermeasures systems;
• land vehicle systems;
• command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence (C4I) systems;
• electronic warfare and signal intelligence systems;
• cyber and intelligence systems; and
• various commercial activities.

This company started in 1966 as a subsidiary under Elron Electronic Industries which it founded the future defense industry with the sharing of expertise with the Israel Ministry of Defense-Research Institute where eventually, it grows into an organization that specializes in defense weaponry and development in which these are to be consumed within Israel and exported abroad as one of an ideal Made In Israel defense product. 

Elbit Systems in the case of the Philippines is reputable on its own worth as it already provides several military assets that are essential and helpful for the country's ever-improving capabilities as part of the overall process of modernization under the Republic Act 10349 or known as the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

Such military platforms that the Armed Forces of the Philippines have undertaken with Elbit Systems include the ORCWS and UT-25 sophisticated gun mounts that are part of the upgrades incorporated onboard the M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers of the Philippine Army's newly-organized Armor Pambato Division (formerly known as the Mechanized Infantry Division), Hermes 450 and 900 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for the Philippine Air Force intended for surveillance operations and some more assets that may have not mentioned in this article. 

With these aforementioned undertakings, it is of no surprise that this company provided these sophisticated assets which are essential to the improvement of the capabilities of each branch of the Armed Forces such as the case of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force here wherein it provides that additional tool that is helpful for these service branch to do its intended duties and responsibilities as they are seeking for enemy targets and eliminate the threat it poses against the citizenry and the nation's overall security as a whole.

This was once produced by Soltam Systems, before being absorbed into
another defense company which is now called Elbit Systems. Image Source.
Its development was initiated by a notable Israeli Defense Company specialized in artillery production which is the Soltam Systems - the one that also provided the Philippine Army and also the Philippine Marine Corps its 155mm Soltam M71 Towed howitzers that are now currently in service for both branches or sub-branches within the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The name for this self-propelled howitzer cannon designed for the Israeli Defense Force is known in its shortened abbreviation for the name Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System where its development into its present form initiated somewhere between the late 90s up to the early 2000s which comes at no doubt with regards to this platform's name which is now currently known as the ATMOS 2000.

There is no detailed information regarding the entry of such platforms into service aside from recent updates available regarding this development, although there are details regarding its trials within the Israeli Defense Force which were initiated something in 2006, perhaps after all of the improvements and developments were incorporated in the ATMOS 2000 platform prior to its test for a qualification within the military service of Elbit/Soltam's home country. 

The ATMOS 2000 in itself does not have a variant that is directly developed, improved nor produced by Elbit Systems nor its subsidiary Soltam Systems although there are countries that indigenously improve their respective ATMOS 2000 platforms such as in the case of the Royal Thai Army where it is license-produced on that country, Romania's ATROM which its own variant of the ATMOS 2000 which was never made it into the production line (except for produced prototypes) and the Kryl which in itself a Polish version of the ATMOS 2000 expected to enter in service within the Polish Armed Forces this year in 2019.

With these variants commonplace (as a source of inspiration) as well as its service in other countries such as Thailand and some African countries such as Rwanda, it is of no surprise to why the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the Philippine Army sees interest on this kind of platform wherein aside from its performance of maneuvering the howitzer onboard a vehicle on one place to another as opposed to towed ones, the number of countries that have utilized it simply satisfies the minimum requirements needed on procuring such vehicle based on either the host country actively using it or at least two countries are having it, in its active service.

It is worth to see regarding the developments of this platform in the years to come given that any upgrades that this platform may have meant a lot for several of the potential end-users such as Israel who which surprisingly will about to obtain such units upon replacing its older M-109 self-propelled artillery it obtains or the Philippines shall such platform is to be considered for its requirements.

To understand this platform further, let us delve into its specifications as it was developed and produced by Elbit subsidiary Soltam Systems wherein there will be an idea regarding its capabilities and also its dimensions so as in respect to the other platforms existing or in service within the Armed Forces of the Philippines, specifically the Philippine Army and Marine Corps.

The ATMOS 2000's Specifications. Click to enlarge.
Image Source.
While the table provided that it perceived as it entered service somewhere in 2004, let it be known that the potential actual date of its entry into Israeli service may come later on as they are about to replace their obsolete M-109 in their asset inventory which is still currently active in service.

Nevertheless, such a development may mean a lot for the Philippine Army wherein the country of origin may finally have its own ATMOS 2000 in active service eventually along the timeline, something that will complement the existing assets that are in service with several of Israel's export countries as aforementioned that cements the prerequisites needed or provided with regards in procuring military assets.

First of regarding the subcomponents that this platform has is its 155mm cannon. It is widely known that both the Philippine Army and the Philippine Marine Corps obtain these towed 155mm Soltam M71 Howitzers wherein both of these artillery pieces do originate from the same country. Hence, there is a sense of commonality between platforms which make it easier for the ATMOS 2000 to integrate especially on operating the guns - only that the latter coming up with better systems that improve its mobility.

With regards to mobility, the composition may vary as the vehicle that may carry the howitzer piece may come with a 6x6 or 8x8 wheeled truck that will provide its self-propulsion to deploy from one place of absolute importance to another as it ideally relaxes other vehicles that may go operating in other areas aside from towing traditional 155mm artillery pieces alongside military supplies along the way to the combat zone and back. So far, the most usual vehicle platform utilized for this artillery is the Tatra T815 VVN 6x6 truck chassis which is powered by a diesel engine that obtains 315hp in engine power required for propulsion.
The ATMOS 2000 variant mounted on TATRA 6X6 Truck.
Obtaining the weight of 22-24 tons, it is considered lighter than the projects slated for the Light Tank Acquisition Project although it is heavier than the Soltam M-71 155mm Howitzers at 20,300lbs (equated to 10.15 tons). With these configurations that the platform has, it is worthy to be seen regarding its capabilities in connection to the Philippine Army's desire of having them wherein the requirements are seen for the project and the specifications that this platform provides may come satisfiable one after the other.

Hence, the satisfaction for the ATMOS 2000 is attainable for a span of more than half a decade now with the budget remaining as a primary obstacle for this project wherein the Multi-Year Obligations Authority / Multi-Year Contracting Authority (MYOA/MYCA) funding is not yet provided. 

Which such acknowledgments provided such as this one recently detailed, it is interesting to see to the extent of the materialization of this project where shall there be a notice of award provided in any of the webpages here of the Department of National Defense in favor to the ATMOS 2000, may get ascertained to the eventualities provided on this article regarding such an Israeli-made self-propelled howitzer artillery piece in finding its way to the Philippine Army's weapons inventory.

The Kingdom of Thailand serves as a first user of such
self-propelled artillery from Israel in Southeast Asia.
Image Source.
The Philippine Army with its deal with Elbit's Subsidiary Soltam Systems for the 155mm M-71 towed artillery is something that may help propel this deal as there is already the history of a successful transaction between the government thru the Philippine Army and Marine Corps being the end-user and a supplier that provided the goods that are surely providing the needs of the organization in ensuring national security and safety.

The ATMOS 2000 has already its user in the Southeast Asian Region in the form of the Royal Thai Armed Forces which obtains a handful of this military pieces of weaponry, aside from several African countries like Rwanda are something that will satisfy the requirements needed on procuring this asset where it comes with the aspiration of the Philippine Armed Forces in having them so as to provide that necessary support and mobility needed in operations involving counterinsurgency which is prevalent in the country in its strife to eliminate both Communist and Moro threats.

All that it takes now is for the outcome of this procurement for 155mm self-propelled howitzers which in itself takes a lot of time so that it may come useful in an event of a future conflict that such asset is needed to be deployed in complementary to the existing towed artillery pieces and other units augmented across the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

This project, along with the other ones specified under the Republic Act 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Program, comes with hopes and dreams that it may come with fruition so as these may help elevate the effectiveness of the whole organization's duties and responsibilities as mandated which is to protect the country and its citizens not only in taking up a fight that involves eliminating threats but also to improve its capabilities through re-organization, the establishment of better facilities, more recruits with better pay and benefits, and most of all, the necessity of procuring newer assets. 

Defending a nation isn't cheap nor free, so it is just necessary to invest a significant amount of the economy to ensure the sovereignty, safety, and welfare of the Philippine Republic as well as its citizenry.


Unknown said...

We need more including the marines. What about MBTs. Are they buying?

Pitz Orpiano said...

It is said that the procurement for Main Battle Tanks may be done by the third Horizon which is from 2022-2028. But that remains to be seen as plans along the way may change, varying the discretion of the high-ranking officials that do the planning.

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