“AICS” program: coffers (dead) or integration (immediate)?

(To Andrea Cucco)

Does the skin of our soldiers fall within the overused and vaunted "national interest"?

If we could have asked our strutting civilian and military leaders during the Army's 163rd anniversary, the answer would probably have been yes.

Unfortunately, the date coincides of the 3st May both with the International Day for Freedom of the Press that with the downgrading of 5 positions for Italy in the international ranking of press freedom, it was seen well (for consistency) not to "allow" even a joke, snubbing the journalists present at the event (following photo).

A real shame because - in words - our people are always committed to relaunching the country with ambitious plans, from the African ones (Mattei Plan) to the multinational ones for Defense. What is therefore worrying is not the intentions but... the timing!

We have been living for a few years in a global pre-war climate that any primate with an opposable thumb can decipher: hurry up!

The military and political leaders of the majority of the Alliance countries, like their colleagues from the already (or soon) adversary states, are preparing for a military confrontation on a global scale. Most of all they are accelerating on all military programs.

And it's not even a secret: you just need to read the official reminders from many foreign ministers or defense secretaries to understand the situation.

We mocked the Allies for a decade by promising 2% defense spending by 2024 and then postponing it to 2028 (two years ago and everyone agreed), France already respects it and a country like the United Kingdom it's even preparing for a 2,5%.

Do we have any idea of ​​the economic cost of involvement in a conflict in which we will be "completely" unprepared compared to one in which we will be "partially"? Double-digit values, for starters.

The “AICS” program

L'Armored Infantry Combat System, focused on one platform combat (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle – AIFV) and a series of support platforms is a program launched years ago which has been absurdly overtaken by the one for the purchase of tanks Leopard 2. Yet, reading some specialized magazines our old wagons Ram - updated - alone would have been sufficient to face the challenges. So what happened? Those impertinent Online Defense people have never always been right?!

A little bad. A conventional war has begun and it is right that, despite throwing away almost 1 billion, those who have "armored" our land force should be fattened up and less obsolete vehicles should be assigned to our tankers.

The tank is, however, demonstrating its importance but also its unexpected vulnerabilities... The Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) are instead taking on an increasingly important role in modern warfare, especially as anti-drone platforms. With advanced sensors such as radar and optics, they can autonomously detect and engage threats, armed with lasers, ECM systems, machine guns or rapid-fire cannons (particularly effective against low-flying drones, loitering ammunition and artillery fire).

If today or in the next few years our Army actually faces one “high intensity conventional combat scenario” like the one addressed last month in Poland, our soldiers would fight on self-sufficient and outdated “Dardo” (photo): vehicles today completely inadequate (poor armor, 25mm caliber incapable of using advanced armor-piercing ammunition, no anti-drone or anti-tank missile systems), perfect to be detected and destroyed by even the least sophisticated enemy drones.

Already in 2021, you could choose between two European systems (the "Swede" CV90 or German Lynx) already existing and to be produced in Italy. Do you think a war 700 kilometers from our eastern border has sped up anything? Far from it! In each Multi-year planning document (DPP) of Defense in recent years the completion of the AICS program has constantly slipped from year to year: 2035, 2036, 2037…

The initial image of the AICS DPP program from 2021 to 2023 (following image on the left) has however been updated with the latest "2023 Army Report" (following image on the right).

One can guess that some decisions have been made: if not yet on the hull in which our boys could survive, on the machine gun to be adopted which - as indicated - clearly seems to be theX-Gun 30mm presented last month by Leonardo (read article "X-GUN: the innovative 30mm counter UAS "sniper".")

AICS (with anti-drone capability) is needed now, not in 15 years. What are we still waiting for to define and integrate the system in its main variants? Is it late?!

The soldiers who survive or will survive vote, those who do not or will not return do not.

Images: Army / Online Defense