The Army on Mont Blanc for studies and experiments in arctic environments

(To Army Majority State)

Between November 29 and December 01, 2023, on Giant's Ice of the Mont Blanc massif at over 3.500 meters above sea level, three teams from the Italian Army were engaged, for three days and two nights, in a scientific research project and experimentation of new technologies in an environment with "arctic" characteristics.​

​Climate changes and the ever-increasing accessibility to the region have renewed the economic/military centrality of the Arctic at an international level. The Army has started a study and experimentation activity aimed at enabling the units of the Alpine Troops to acquire the ability to operate in this particular type of environment.​

With the collaboration of scientific partners, universities and companies, an initial research project was conducted, aimed at developing new scientific protocols and technological innovation aimed at military applications.​

A scientific committee guided the different phases of collection and study of the functional parameters through the cooperation of researchers and medical personnel belonging to the CNR of Pisa, the Universities of Ferrara, Bologna, Milan and the Mountain University of Edolo. In the "natural laboratory" of the Mont Blanc glacier, a field test was conducted where physiological and cognitive data were systematized in relation to environmental data.​

Individual biological parameters were monitored through advanced instrumentation and wearable diagnostic sensors. The data collected in real time were analyzed and compared with those of previously conducted tests, in order to study the physiological response in extreme cold conditions. Attention was also paid to neurological and cognitive processes, to evaluate decision-making and adaptation capacity in situations of stress and fatigue.​

A team of six soldiers highly specialized in military mountaineering from the Alpine Brigade were involved in the experimentation of the young officers of the Turin Application School assigned to the Alpine troops. Taurinense and personnel of the 4th Alpine Parachute Regiment and a third team made up of military Alpine guides from the Alpine training center.

The technological collaboration with various companies has allowed us to experiment with materials and equipment that the staff used in cyclical phases of stationing and movement.​

New types of tents, sleeping bags and mattresses as well as food rations that can be used in extreme environments were transported autonomously with the aid of sleds towed by operators equipped with innovative skis designed for military use.​

This first phase of experimentation will be followed by further studies to delve deeper into the most complex issues of the Arctic to achieve a better understanding of diseases and the behavior of human beings in those particular environmental conditions for the benefit of both military capabilities and organizations and civil companies operating in those latitudes.​