Last August the contract was signed that should start the program to update the MBT ARIETE, which will equip the two Heavy Brigades (Ram e Garibaldi) of the Italian Army.
The initial allocation, amounting to 35 million (on a total loan, spread over 13 years, of 426 million), involves the updating of 3 (three) ARIETE tanks within the 2022. The program will be managed by the IOC, the Iveco Oto-Melara Consortium (the joint consortium company between Iveco Defense Vehicle and Leonardo Elettronica BU Defense Systems).
We recall that the ARIETE cart is a national project born in the 80 years of the last century. The Army foresaw the acquisition of exemplary 300, however the end of the Cold War and the cuts to the Defense Budgets, caused the acquisitions of 10 to be postponed (with a reduction of 100 means). Of the 200 ARIETE acquired, as far as we know, they are efficient no more than forty carts, the others are used as suppliers of spare parts.
Leaving aside the fact that with 35 million euros one could buy 7 / 8 MERKAVA IV (or 6 LEOPARD 2A7), the allocation includes improvement interventions concerning mobility, pointing systems and passive protections.
The current engine - Iveco V12 diesel that develops little more than 1.200 Hp - will be enhanced by the installation of a common rail injection system, allowing an increase in power up to 1.500 Hp.
Tracks wider than the current ones will also be installed to allow the wagon to move better on desert and snow-covered terrain.
As far as the aiming systems are concerned, the panoramic view of the commander's wagon will be replaced with the ATTILA D, while the gunner will have a thermal IR chamber of 3 ° generation TILDE.
At the end of the program they should be updated about 120 ARIETE, even if the numbers are still very different.
In our opinion, the interventions that will be carried out on ARIETE (despite a very high financial allocation) will not allow the Army to be able to deploy a vehicle up to operational scenarios.
The ARIETE wagon was born with significant structural defects, due to the long development times and lack of experience - and knowledge - of the national industry regarding the construction of battle floats.
Among the main ones: the armoring presents critical points in the points where the plates are joined; the blows stored inside the turret are not inserted in protected reservoirs, therefore vulnerable to blows; the turret and the cannon have hydraulic interlocks that limit its performance.
A possible alternative would be to acquire a last generation MBT in sufficient numbers to equip at least two Heavy regiments - one of theRam and the 4 ° rgt Carri della Garibaldi, more than sufficient for the operational needs of the Italian Army - waiting for the new European wagon (although, in this regard, there is no Italian political initiative).
Photo: Italian Army