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Cl Ariete [Ram] Main Battle Tank

The Ariete (Italian: Aries, Ram) is a second generation main battle tank characterized by high performances, advanced armour protection and significant firepower. An Oto Melara 120mm smootn-bore gun is located in the center of the hull which is stabilized on both axes. A 7.62mm machine gun is mounted coaxially to the main armament and up to two MG weapons can be mounted on the turret roof for local and air defence. The gun can fire high explosive and kinetic energy penetration type ammunition from any manufacturer. The Fire Control System includes a stabilised panoramic periscope, a self stabilized optical sight with IR camera for day and night operations and a digital fire control computer. It comes mounted with laser rangefinder and a digital fire control system and other advanced technological facilities.

The Ariete has a crew of four, a combat weight of 52 tonnes, a maximum speed of 65 km/h, a 550 km range and is able to surmount 60% gradients. The power pack incorporatee an Iveco V-12 MTCA turbocharged intercooled 12 cylinder diesel engine that develops 1275 hp and is directly coupled to a fully automatic transmission. This provides four forward and two reverse speeds, allowing 3 ranges at steering radius and pivot as well as a double differential steering system with a hydrostatic drive and. hydraulic retarder. The suspension uses a torsion bar system.

West German an Swiss armies sponsored development of three-man battle tank designs during the 1970s, but found that they did not offer sufficient advantage at the time over the Leopard II with its conventional configuration and four-man crew. To enable them to reduce the crew to three men, both the German and Swiss designs incorporated bustle- or hull-mounted autoloaders. On the other hand, three-man tanks were adopted in the early 1980s by the French and Japanese armies, in the shape of the AMX LeClerc and the TK-X. Both tanks had the driver in the hull, the commander and gunner in the turret, and loading performed by a bustle autoloader. However, the trend to three-man crews did not become general. Several tanks developed during the 1980s had the conventional configuration and four-man crews. These include the British Challenger, South Korean Type 88, the Brazilan EE-T1 Osorio, the Italian C-1 Ariete, and the Israeli Merkava Mark 3. Moreover, highly experienced tank designers like General Tal, who directed the evolution of the Merkava from its inceptioa, consider four-man crews essential to prolonged combat.

Both hull and turret are made of welded steel with the latest composite armor on the frontal arc. The manufacturer states that the Ariete's armor is similar to the British Challenger 2 tank and the American M1 Abrams. Protection is increased by using war and peace-support ballistic add-ons. System survivability is an area that is receiving a great deal of attention, with active defense measures leading the way. Work in this area tends to be categorized based on whether it defends the vehicle via soft or hard kill. Laser and other threat warning systems that trigger a smoke or chaff grenade to defeat the incoming munition are considered "soft kill" technology. This type of active defense technology is fitted on some of the latest tanks, such as the Israeli Merkava, the Japanese Type 90, the Polish PT-91, the latest Russian tanks, and the Italian Ariete.

In 1980 OTO Melara developed an experimental model of the OF-40, designated for export. This tank made widespread use of Leopard-1 units and assemblies in its construction, including engine and transmission and the 105-mm cannon. The body and turret are welded. The sides are covered with anti-shaped-charge plating. In a stage of further development, the OF-40 Mk2 differs from its predecessor chiefly by virtue of a more sophisticated fire control system, to include a gunner's sight with built-in laser rangefinder and stabilized commander's sight (developed by the French). The main gun is stabilized in two planes. Mounted on the gun camouflage is a television camera system for use when conducting observation from terrain concealment.

The Italian corporations OTO Melara and Fiat formed a consortium for the purpose of developing and producing the Cl main battle tank. Two experimental models had been built by 1988. The Cl has a classical configuration. Its armor protection is significantly better than that of the OF-40. Its 120-mm smooth-bore gun is guidance-stabilized in two planes. Combat load is 40 rounds. A modern fire control system has been installed. The diesel engine (1200 horse-power) is built in a single block with the automatic transmission. The Italian ground forces command planned in 1988 to purchase up to 250 of these tanks to replace their aging American M47's.

The Italian Army decided to procure two types of combat vehicle, tracked main battle tanks and wheeled armoured vehicles. To meet the specifications for vehicles for intervention in classic battlefield operations, a second-generation battle tank and an infantry fighting vehicle have been developed. The Ariete was designed and manufactured by the ltalian Consorzio Iveco FiatOto Melara according to italian Army speclftcations. The Ariete CI was brought into service while studies were carried out for an advanced second or third-generation battle tank. The Italian Army took delivery of its first Ariete main battle tank in December 1995. The final delivery completed 7 years later in August 2002. According to a report in JANE'S DEFENSE WEEKLY, some 36 OF-40 tanks were delivered to the United Arab Emirates. An upgraded version, with modular armor, auto-loader and 55-calibre gun, was displayed in 2005 and ready for production.

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Page last modified: 07-08-2012 13:22:21 ZULU