Italian Navy confirmed Super Rapido/Strales capabilities during ADS/FS 2021

By Luca Peruzzi

The Italian Navy successfully confirmed the capabilities of the Leonardo OTO 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun system in the Davide configuration (Strales for the export market) during the NATO At-Sea Demonstration/Formidable Shield 2021 IAMD (Integrated Air and Missile Defence) live-firing exercise. Last June, the Italian Navy Marceglia Bergamini-class FREMM in the General Purpose (GR) variant equipped with both Leonardo OTO 127/64 LW Vulcano system with the automated ammunition handling system and the same company’s OTO 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun mount in the Davide configuration, participated to the exercise, conducting live firings with both guns as well as with missile systems. Based on Italian Navy press statement released last June, the ITN Marceglia frigate combat system detected, engaged and neutralized an aerial target with the OTO Super Rapido in the standard Davide configuration. The latter consists of a radio-frequency Ka-band guidance system with the antenna integrated on the gun turret and the DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of Flight) sub-calibre beam riding guided ammunition.  EDR On-Line understood that the target was simulating a challenging sea-skimming threat. According to the Italian Navy statement released recently to EDR On-Line, the Italian frigate conducted live firings with the Davide configured Super Rapido gun against a Banshee Jet 80 subsonic aerial target at low altitude. The gun/guided ammunition suite is optimized to counter fast and maneuvering threats with aiming kinematics at the defended naval platform. The need to use a drone flight trajectory parallel or diverting from the defended platform, imposed by the range safety regulations as occurred in that live firing represents a more demanding and stressing scenario for the guided munitions and the guidance system. The firing action was successful according to the Italian Navy: the rounds, guided by the radio-frequency beam constantly aimed at the present position of the threat, exploded nearby the target, disabling it. The pre-fragmented splinters of the warhead of each projectile have, in fact, caused extensive structural damages, such as to cause the functional destruction of the radio-controlled drone.

According to the statement, the activity made it possible for the Italian Navy to verify for the first time in the field, excluding the development and validation activities, the engagement capabilities of the in-service Super Rapido-Davide/DART suite, “a national technological solution developed to counter asymmetrical or traditional threats, with cost containment with respect to missile defense systems”, said the statement. The live firing also allowed to acquire further and valuable data on the system, that will allow to face future evolutions and developments, concluded the Italian Navy statement.

Photo courtesy Leonardo