Image for representational purposes only

According to publicly available records, a version of the Ascod LT, a light tank, will be presented by General Dynamics European Land Systems through its Spanish company Santa Bárbara Sistemas (SBS) in the upcoming defense exposition Paris Eurosatory 2022 which is scheduled to be held from 13th to 17th June.

While its official name is Ascod LT – LT for light tank – it is popularly known as Pizarro in Spain. The export version is called Ascod.

The light tank’s turret, weapon system, 105mm gun, and various subsystems are manufactured and integrated by Israel’s defense giant Elbit Systems.

Actually, Ascod is a platform for an armored vehicle created by Austria’s Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spain’s General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas. The platform is entering service in various countries.

While Spain has ordered 261 units of the 105mm Ascod LT, Austria has so far ordered 12 units; these are sold under the Ulan name.

Ascod is used to build armored vehicles, such as light tanks, surface-to-air missile [SAM] launchers, anti-tank missile launchers, mortar carriers, R&R vehicles, command & control vehicles, ambulances, artillery observers, and the AIFV model. The company is gradually making inroads in the international markets.

So far, Spain, Austria, the UK and the Philippines are Ascod’s customers, with the US and the Czech Republic being potential customers. Ascod is pitching its export version to the US Army and is offering the Czech Republic an amphibious infantry fighting vehicle as a replacement for the legacy Soviet BMP-2.

The version that will be diaplayed in the Paris Eurosatory 2022 will be the Spanish light tank variant, featuring a 105mm cannon; incidentally the turret allows the integration of a 120mm cannon as well. In fact its design is such that in addition to the Elbit Systems’ turret, it also allows the integration of several turrets from other manufacturers including Oto Melara, Cockerill, General Dynamics, and Denel Land Systems.

The armor plating of the light tank is made of rolled steel and has options for explosive reactive armor and composite armor. Powered by a diesel engine, the light tank, depending on the configuration, has between 600 to 720 horsepower. As for suspension, it has a torsion bar and Piedrafita rotary dampers – models AR01 and AR02. Depending on the engine configuration it has a top speed averaging at 72 kmph.

In addition to the 105mm gun, the turret of the Ascod LT can be equipped with additional weapons including a MG3 7.62 × 51mm NATO (Pizarro) or a FN MAG 7.62 × 51mm NATO.