Letter to Online Defense: Italian Army and future MBT


Dear Director, good morning, I too am writing to you regarding the matter relating to the new MBT which should support the C2 Ariete (the final result, barring further future modernization programmes, of the Ariete AMV programme), an issue that is obviously close to my heart to many readers and enthusiasts of the Italian military world.

As you well know, it all began with the interview granted by Gen. Pietro Serino last year in which he expressed EI's interest in a second line of MBTs. This first BOMB (because in Italy it can only be named like this) was followed by the parliamentary interviews of Gen. Serino himself first and then of Gen. Portolano. At the same time there was the article in the magazine AgenParl at the end of February/early March '23, which mentioned the indiscretion relating to the purchase of 250 Leopard 2A7s for around €8 billion.
Last, but only in chronological order, the confirmation received on a Vs. live from Gen. Farina confirming the various rumors about the Leopard 2A7.

Given that whatever vehicle will be chosen (Leopard 2A7, K2 Black Panther, AMX-56 Leclerc or Merkava Mk 5…) it will in any case represent a great step forward in terms of capability and deterrence for our Armed Forces but also a huge economic investment for the country given that it will be an expense of several billion euros, I was asking you which of the various western means mentioned above could represent the best option, not only immediately, but also over the next 30 years, also in terms of growth.
The above because this vehicle will have to remain on the aprons of our brigades for several decades, considering that an expense of this magnitude cannot be considered a simple gap filler waiting for the MGCS; consequently it will need updates to keep it up to date with future threats (unless we repeat the same mistake made with Aries which, beyond its youth defects, was never improved) and will therefore have further room for growth compared to to the current standard.

It would also be interesting to try to make a sort of technical/tactical comparison, set in Italian reality, between the most recent versions of these means.

Certain of your kind reply, I thank you and greet you cordially.

Vilucchi David

Dear Reader, Good morning to you.

As you will be able to "discover", it all began when some impertinent "subjects" dared repeatedly and peremptorily to maintain (several years ago!) that the updating of a wagon like theRam (badly designed, worse made) absolutely would have been useless to face any modern confrontation (read, for example: "What future for the armored component? Leopard, Merkava, Aries 2 or ...?")

Although General Farina - rightly and commendably - underlined the value and capabilities of our crews in various international exercises, the vessel was a "necessary evil" until last year: since there was no alternative, it was the only choice.

We recall that a soldier has already lost his life on that tank due to just one of the many defects and limitations (read article). And let's talk about times of peace!!!

Then, on February 24, 2022, a certain Putin revealed what seemed impossible… the heavy component matters. Here I am!

At that point the blood froze in the veins of many soldiers. The politician of the moment could still have been mocked for a long time, but not the soldiers condemned to a possible war front...

Thanks to some (pagan?) deity or, more venally, to the sudden surge in demand... the German allies have resumed production of one of the best tanks, the Leopard 2 A7. Of course, for a comparison with what is happening in the east, further information would be needed upgrade (an A8+ version). However, between jumping out of an airplane with a small parachute, rather than an empty backpack, the first choice is always preferable.

And we come to our day and to your question..."Over the next 30 years also the terms of growth margins" none of the wagons mentioned above will fully respond to the needs and challenges. If only, if once the areas of a tank at greatest risk were all except the turret ceiling, today that area is the optimal target of anti-tank missiles and even mines!!! (see episode passage "Obstacle, Against Obstacle and Protection, or the modern Poliorcetica")

All means are now seeing updates awaiting a completely new platform, a revolution - I guess - without a crew (or at least without the "need" of a combat crew but, at most, with maintenance or "supervision" duties).

for "technical/tactical comparison" a separate article will be needed from the list.

For the moment we appreciate the wise step taken by our Defense (we remind the responsibility of Segredifesa... the general staffs express "requisites") in seeking elsewhere what - in the house - not only we have not been able to achieve, but not even update and even maintain. Up until last year, there were just 30 wagons in operation Ram (out of 200!) and today just 125 are updatable... (Oops! And the other 75?)

May the Lord protect us, before an enemy, from ourselves...

Andrea Cucco

Photo: NATO