The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Pietro Serino, was heard in recent weeks by the Defense Commissions of the Chamber and Senate on the state of the armed force on land.
The topics dealt with concerned a substantial all-round crisis: insufficient personnel, deficient and undersized training areas (the largest available in Italy corresponds to the smallest in France), high average age of personnel, efforts to re-enter the world of the work of discharged volunteers, the need to reorganize reserves, capacity gaps in the systems, insufficient and inadequate armored vehicles for the threat brought by the war to Europe's gates. Just to name a few. It would have been easier (and quicker) to just say what was good...
In short, there is a war 700 kilometers from the eastern border, we have had a defense set up for decades peacekeeping (words of the minister) and we need to run for cover.
What we will talk about now is a decision that the Defense is about to take: the one on the new armored fighting vehicle for infantry. A "key" IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) which, since we are still proceeding with the update of theRam (a useless and inadequate tank today as it will be tomorrow), he himself will have to protect the relic of the cold war in a possible war front. However, General Serino hinted that alternative/additional "state of the art" tanks would be sought in the meantime.
The part of the "heavy" component to be replaced today is represented by Dart (photo), a vehicle that probably represented a step forward compared to the old M113s designed in the 50s, but which it offers no protection against modern threats (like drones or loitering munitions) in addition to the traditional ones. The provision is therefore very urgent (if not late...).
The final decision today is between two candidates: the CV90 Mk IV, by BAE Systems, and the Lynx KF41by Rheinmetall.
Il first it is a vehicle prototyped at the end of the 80s, in service since the early 90s, which has undergone four updates which have involved everything from armament to protection for the crew (initially sacrificed in favor of mobility). It has been rumored for some time that the CV90 would be sponsored by that national industry which, having never been able to produce decent tanks (although excelling in other sectors), seeks the greatest profit (under licence) without having to question too much one's (in)capacity in the field.
Il second it is a radically new vehicle, designed in 2015 and with superior crew engagement and protection capabilities. A more complex means of implementation, it would allow the creation of a national terrestrial industrial pole. The same that our Army has been wanting for many years.
For years we have noticed in the images and videos disclosed on the CV90 by BAE Systems (in the previous image a rare frame) a constant censorship of the rear ramp of the vehicle. Try searching on the web… The obvious reason is that the protection offered to soldiers from an attack in that area of the vehicle appears to be equivalent to that of the Dart which in turn was virtually identical to that of an M113.
I believe that the simple observation of the thickness of the KF41 Lynx can remove any doubts regarding the real levels of passive defense.
The system proposed by Rheinmetall also offers the ability to engage circling or ballistic threats that the Swedish vehicle (by birth) does not have.
The final figures for each of the two candidates will certainly be on the table of Segredifesa and Via XX Settembre, however it is not difficult to consider it probable that, in the face of significantly different capacities, the cost of the first option (CV90) will be lower.
With the memory of our fallen in Afghanistan still coming back wrapped in a tricolor and faced with so much waste, can the possible loss of life really be justified with a lower purchase price?
The Army Chief of Staff said the new armored vehicle will have an operational life of about 40 years. I ask you: will it therefore be better to start from a new base (KF-41 Lynx) and prepared for upgrades or from one with already 30 years of modifications behind it (CV90)?
I am now bringing you an important passage from General Serino's speech to our parliamentarians: "If our soldiers were to be called to operate, I must have the conscience of having done everything in my power to allow them to operate in the best conditions".
Soon we will finally have the answer to the following question: the life of our soldiers, in the case of real combat employment, will have been protected - or sacrificed - by the political, military and/or industrial leaders of our country?
While hoping never to have to ask for it... we will remember for a long time the answer that the defense minister and military leaders will provide.
And you readers... with a camo on, which combat vehicle would you ride?
Photo: BAE Systems / Rheinmetall / Italian Army / Army Recognition