Letter to Online Defense: are you "opportunely" missing a beat?


Dear editor, I have been following the newspaper for some years and I have to ask you, with regret, if you are missing a beat.

Let me explain, important news has come out in the last month commented by everyone, except you.

For example, I am speaking of the purchase of the Leopard 2, a vehicle which, as many have pointed out, will allow Italy to have a first-rate armored component at the same level as the Allies (at least in Europe) or the Ariete tank update program , a means which, if it has been decided to proceed, must not be so bad (unlike what you have written too often!).

Perhaps your silence, after being surprised by the resolute and courageous actions of the new national government, is just a matter of "opportunity", that is - let us be proven wrong - having the decency to remain silent?

Paul C.


Dear reader, I will kindly respond to your critical frankness because it is justified by an obvious time limit: you have only been reading about it for a few years and not for a few years.

It's true, in the last month we haven't joined the jubilant choirs of so many colleagues or so-called colleagues. The reason is simple: Leopard 2 would have been useful today, not in 10 years.

If he had followed us for longer he would have discovered that for many years we had been underlining the urgency of renewing the heavy component of the Army (see for example "What future for the armored component? Leopard, Merkava, Aries 2 or ...?"). If he had acted allora, today we would have one. Now it's late.

And what's more, you check, how many supported the need to buy a real tank before last month or the outbreak of a conventional conflict? Us and (perhaps) very few others.

If someone paid more attention to what is happening, not only in the Ukraine, but also in Germany... they would rather understand why, together with the order for Leopard 2A8, the Germans added an order for PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers.

Why hasn't Italy done it and isn't doing it, despite sending various vehicles to Ukraine? Maybe in the original version offered under license (and not the one "redesigned" by noantri that gets stuck...).

About half of the tanks in Ukraine are destroyed by artillery. It happens today, it happened in the Second World War, when the so-called Italian "tanks" had to deal with their Russian counterparts, the famous T-34: it was the artillery that brilliantly made up for the gap (read the article "When the Italians met the Russian tanks. The first clash in Serafimovich bend".

Is there today a vehicle capable of coming out unscathed from a 155mm shot, even from many meters away? No. It's a detonation within 10 meters and almost always fatal to a tank.

Italy, borrowing the success born in the field of naval ammunition, also produces “Volcano” guided ammunition. We trust that our scarce reserves are also being filled by significant shares of this advanced munitions.

What to do now?

Since a full year and a half from the beginning of the conflict that opened the eyes of (almost) everyone in Europe we have not yet proceeded with the choice of an armored fighting vehicle for the infantry (intended to protect three times the occupants of a wagon) and since there are versions capable of protecting against anti-tank threats (drones, loitering munitions, missiles and… artillery strikes!), why didn't we proceed with those in the first instance? Why did a national company even try to dictate what it (is able to) produce under license?

On this point we return to an old Online Defense mantra: how much is a soldier's skin worth to our politicians? (read article Garibaldi would have said: "Here you make the best means or you die!")

You are also right: for many years we have stressed the futility ofupdating ofRam. We are talking about a poorly designed, poorly protected and expensive tank that has already claimed the lives of a 22-year-old boy (see link). Our opinion on this it hasn't changed a bit.

To conclude, since you used a "particular term"... I would like to underline what is the real "inappropriateness"!

Last month, on the occasion of a parliamentary question, during the announcement of the purchase of Leopard 2, Undersecretary of Defense Isabella Rauti has tank upgrade schedule confirmed Ram. We recall: almost 1 billion for just 90 wagons (should have been 125) of the original 200 (!).

A few days later, Rauti herself - in the company of the Defense Chief of Staff Admiral Cavo Dragone - lent herself to celebrate the "donation" of a van worth a few tens of thousands of euros to the Defense Paralympic Sports Group.

Let's reread the statements still highlighted today on the Ministry of Defense portal:

“The consolidated partnership between the Defense Department and Iveco Defense Vehicles opens up to sport and the Defense Paralympic Sports Group. This donation is the company's recognition of the sensitivity for social issues that the Armed Forces have always shown and which takes the form of the desire not to leave anyone behind" are the words expressed by the Undersecretary of Defense Isabella Rauti.

"This donation is a gesture that has its roots in the normal and traditional prodigality of the Company (IDV), attentive to the problems of the most vulnerable, the most fragile and above all attentive to inclusion, a social duty, sometimes neglected, but which should be indispensable for each of us” thus the head of SMD defined, during his greeting address, the moral value of the donation.

For heaven's sake, we absolutely do not want to diminish the utility of the vehicle and even less the value of the Defense Paralympic Sports Group. However... Couldn't the Defense buy it directly?

I wonder, making a regulatory parallel (Presidential Decree 62/2013): if the public employee he must not to accept for oneself or for others, gifts or other utilities, except for those of modest value used occasionally as part of normal courtesy relations and in the context of international customs, and since the modest value it is fixed (by the same law) at 150 euroswhat is "suitable" or of "moral value" for theDefense institution a donation of a few tens of thousands of euros from a member of the consortium (CIO, Iveco-Oto Melara) to whom almost 1 billion euros has just been confirmed?

Andrea Cucco

Photo: Bundeswehr / Rheinmetall / Ministry of Defence