The situation of the Italian armed forces: the Projection Force from the sea

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

Born in the 2007 - composed of departments and vehicles coming from both the Navy and the Army - the Projection Force from the Sea represents the Landing Strength (National Landing Force).

Projecting at a distance, a package of credible forces, constitutes a goal of high strategic value, for this purpose Italy is trying to orient the amphibious instrument in an ever-increasing key expeditionary.

As is known, about two thirds of the earth's surface is washed by the seas and oceans, moreover, around 70% of the world population lives within a band of 300 km from the sea, from this it is possible to deduce the extreme importance for a nation - which aspire to play a leading role in the international scene - to possess adequate amphibious capabilities.

Today's operational scenarios have modified the military doctrines postulated previously. In fact, today we look at the sea surface as if it were one platform from which to project power towards the mainland, as for example occurred in the 1992 during the operation Restore Hope in Somalia.

Obviously Italy, not being a great power, certainly does not have the means to cultivate global ambitions, however a valid amphibious component can certainly protect our interests even outside the Mediterranean basin.

Currently, the naval component of the National Amphibious Force is based on the three LPD (Landing Platform Dock) San Giorgio class: the Saint Mark, St. George and the San Giusto. With a full load displacement of around 8.000 tons, they entered service between the 1987 and the 1994 and were equipped with C4I capabilities in order to enable them to coordinate limited amphibious operations, even in the best joint.

In addition the Cavour it has the capacity to support amphibious operations, with the possibility of being able to transport a company of marine fusiliers.

If the times will be respected, in the 2022, an LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) from 33.000 tons, la Trieste. This new unit will make it possible to considerably increase the projection capacity of the Landing Force, however it is necessary to replace the three LPD now nearing the end of their operational life. At the moment there are no allocations, for the fiscal year 2019, for the manufacture of other amphibious assault units.

The operational component of the Projection Force from the sea is based on the Marine Brigade Saint Marco and on dedicated assets of the Cavalry Brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli Army.

The 1 ° Rgt Anfibio Saint Marco is the main maneuvering unit of the Landing Force, and is the only infantry regiment of the Italian Armed Forces that has a ternary composition, that is, on three battalions: the Venice and the Grado are on two fusilier companies and a support arms company while the Golametto is a battalion support battalion.

The company NP (Paratrooper Swimmers) represents a fundamental piece for the activities Special of the Landing Force, both tactically and strategically.

The army's amphibious infantry component consists of the 1 ° Rgt Lagunari Serene, which has only one battalion on three fusilier companies and one supporting arms.

The other specialized structures of Pozzuolo are taken from the 4 ° Rgt Genoa Cavalleria, from the 3 ° Rgt Genio Guastatori and from the Rgt Artiglieria a Cavallo Voloire, which assign two heavy armored squadrons to the Projection Force Centaur, two spoiler companies with related vehicles, two batteries equipped with XHUMX / 70 mm FH-155 howitzers.

In addition, the Army provides helicopter attack facilities as well as two batteries Stinger of the 17 ° Rgt of anti-aircraft artillery Sforzesca.

The main landing craft is still the AAV7A1 amphibious crawler, supplied both to the Rgt Saint Marco and to the Lagunari Regency. These vehicles should be replaced with the new Iveco 8x8 vehicle, the SuperAV (photo), already adopted by the US Marine Corps. However, the chronic lack of resources available to the Ministry of Defense makes this acquisition, although necessary, somewhat distant in time.

Photo: BAE Systems / Navy / Iveco Defense Vehicles