The Italian Army is making an important capacitive and technological leap forward thanks to the signature in the last few days of several contracts for modernization and procurement programs. The signatures took place at the General Secretariat of Defense and National Armaments Directorate HQ.
The contract for the acquisition of a further 20,000 Individual Combat Systems (SIC) was signed by the Land Armaments Director, Lieutenant General Francesco Castrataro and by Paolo Fabbricante, Commercial Director of the “Safe Soldier System Consortium” which includes Leonardo and the Pietro Beretta Arms Factory.
The important goal achieved is the result of long lasting studies, developments and experiments conducted within the Future Soldier Program (now known as “Safe Soldier”) by the Italian Army and is the outcome of the consolidated synergy and the full sharing of intent between the Army General Staff, the Land Armaments Directorate and the national industry.
The acquisition of the system increases the precision and survival capacities of the Italian soldier through new generation equipment. Each military is integrated into the digital Command and Control system that ensures his employment in current and future operational scenarios.
In the framework of a technological improvement of the land component, the Army has acquired 126 SPIKE antitank missile launchers and 800 new generation medium and long range missiles, which will enter service starting from 2021. They can be used both from infantry and vehicle-borne launchers, and ensure the engagement of vehicles fitted with reactive armour or active anti-missile systems. The system can be used in the whole spectrum of military operations, in all-weather condition, as well as in an NBC contaminated environment or in the presence of electromagnetic disturbances.
Army soldiers will also benefit of the increasing of the Medium Armored Vehicle (VBM) 8×8 “Freccia” fleet, of which another 30 units are being acquired with the option for 11 more in the anti-tank version, the Freccia representing the first digitized combat vehicle to be introduced in service.
At the same time, the technological upgrade of that vehicle is underway, aiming at a new configuration in an evolved version that will feature increased protection, with particular attention to that against improvised explosive devices, mobility and firepower, the latter based on a turret armed with a 30 mm main weapon, remotely operated by the crew.
Another important technological innovation is the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme, aimed at replacing and rationalizing the Army Aviation helicopter fleet, through the acquisition of a single platform, a military evolution of the AW 169 helicopter, capable of to fulfill all the tasks of the previous flight lines.
A small number of this new concept helicopter will be initially supplied in some basic versions for flight crew training and, subsequently, in the “Advanced Multirole” version. The platform, characterized by cutting-edge technological and avionic standards, will be used both in country as well as downrange.
The air defence artillery will also benefit of important technological developments, with the first development phase of the CAMM ER missile (Common Anti-air Modular Missile Extended Range), this new ammunition being effective against air threats up to 40 km range. The CAMM ER consists of a single-stage supersonic missile with “active homing”, effective in all weather conditions and also in an environment strongly affected by electromagnetic jamming.
The CAMM ER will constitute the ammunition of the Army GRIFO “short range” air defence weapon system, that will gradually replace the SKYGUARD weapon system that will end its technical life in 2021.
The launch of these programmes will have a significant impact from an employment standpoint at the production plants on the national territory of the companies part of the consortium, as well as on the complex network of subcontractors, which selection over the years was based on the high quality standards st for those programmes.
The Army modernization programme is one of the projects contained in the fourth programme bullet indicated by the Chief of Staff in the “5 challenges”, in order to be able to have projects that develop technologically advanced and competitive weapon systems to reduce the capacity gap which compromises the Army joint and combined interoperability capacity.
Source Italian Army – Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photos courtesy Leonardo, MBDA, P. Valpolini