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VBM "FRECCIA" Infantry Fighting Vehicle
VBM Veicolo Blindato Medio

The VBC/VBM "FRECCIA" [VBC Veicolo blindato da combattimento - VBM Veicolo Blindato Medio - Medium Armored Vehicle] represents the fundamental element of the future Medium Digitalized Brigades. The Freccia shares the chassis of the Centauro wheeled tank already in Army service, but is armed with a 25mm cannon and can transport up to eight soldiers, as well as three crew. A 550-horsepower diesel engine gives a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour. The Freccia is fundamental to the Italian Army's shift to medium-weight brigades that are network-enabled.

Studied to be adaptable to the modern operative scenarios, this vehicle is characterized by advanced technology, versatility, high mobility, fire power and extremely elevated level of protection; moreover it is the first to be entirely "digitalized" that is to say equipped with systems that allow it to be the perfect connection among man-UAVs and UGVs-Command and Control systems, according to the most recent philosophies of "network-centric warfare". By adopting the Freccia [which means Arrow in Italian], the Italian Army is therefore equipped with a modern system with great advantages in terms of modern technology and operative performance.

Approximately 3 meters high and 2,9 meters wide, the Arrow can reach a maximum speed of approximately 110 km/h, with an autonomy of approximately 800 km.; it is in a position to transporting, besides the 3 members of the crew, 8 constituent soldiers an infantry squad, to which it assures an effective protection thanks to its stratified armor plating and the effectiveness of the main armament, constituted from a gun from 25 milimeter These peculiar technical characteristics arranged with an increased flexibility of employment, renders the family of the VBM adaptabile to the modern operating scene.

On February 17, 2009 the Iveco Fiat-Oto Melara consortium delivered to the Italian Army the first Medium Armoured Vehicle "Freccia". The ceremony took place at CEPOLISPE (CEntro POLIfunzionale di SPErimentazione) in Montelibretti, near Rome, a structure of the Italian Army devoted to the testing, inspection and evaluation of the vehicles destined to the national Armed Forces. Among the many distinguished representatives from the political, military and industrial fields that attended the ceremony, there were the Undersecretary of State for Defence, Hon. Giuseppe Cossiga, the Chief of Army Staff, General Fabrizio Castagnetti, the General Director of Land Weapon Systems, Gen. Antonio Gucciardino and other important military authorities. For the industry: Dr. Giorgio Zappa, Managing Director of Finmeccanica, Gen. Giulio Fraticelli, President of Oto Melara, Mr. Roberto Cibrario Assereto and Mr. Carlo Alberto Iardella, President and Vice President of the Consorzio Iveco Fiat-Oto Melara.

The 26-ton Freccia, built by Italian firms Oto Melara and Iveco, represents the Italian Army's costliest program, with a first planned order of 249 vehicles running to 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion), and a final total order of 900 eyed by generals. But they believe it is the key to taking the Army into the 21st century. The contract for the supply to the Italian Army of the "FRECCIA" vehicles foresees a first tranche of 54 VBMs (50 in Combat version with the Oto Melara 25mm Hitfist turret, 1 in Anti-Tank configuration that adds two Spike missile launchers on the sides of the Hitfist turret, 2 Command Post equipped with the Oto Melara Hitrole 12,7mm turret and 1 Mortar Carrier), while the second tranche of 109 vehicles (61 Combat, 24 Anti-Tank, 12 Command Post and 12 Mortar Carrier) is presently under negotiation. A third tranche will follow to complete the Italian Army's first requirement for 249 vehicles that will be entirely supplied within 2013.

According to the program for the purchase of armored vehicles 381 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) Freccia will be purchased, co-produced by the Italian consortium Conzorzio Iveco Oto Melara. The cost of this equipment is about 2,65 bn (USD 4.02 billion), the purchase will be carried out until 2024. It has been previously ordered 249 of these BMPs, financed by means of the Ministry of Industry. It is assumed that these combat vehicles will be equipped with the brigade units.

While the Freccia serves as the key platform for the digitization of the Army, three heavy Army brigades, the Sassari, Pinerolo and Aostam, also will be rebuilt around it, transforming them into medium brigades. This is part of a drive to end overreliance on light brigades that lack combat power and heavy brigades that drag a slow, long logistics tail. Each of the reshaped brigades will boast three regiments operating the Freccia, for a total of about 230 of the vehicles per brigade. About 160 of that total will be combat version Freccias, the remainder split among command post, mortar, anti-tank, recovery vehicle and engineering versions. A fourth regiment in each brigade will contain the Centauro wheeled tank and the Puma scout vehicle.

The three brigades set to change status will join the Pozzuolo del Friuli brigade, which already operates the Centauro, to make four medium brigades by 2031. One other heavy brigade, the Granatieri di Sardegna, will be transformed into a light brigade, meaning that of six heavy brigades today only two will be left by 2031, the Garibaldi and the Ariete, operating tracked Dardo vehicles and the Ariete tank.

The VBM 8x8 Freccia represents for the Army the point of departure for a wider plan than called Force NEC (Network Enabled Capabilities), the modernization of all acquisition of operating and technological abilities to take advantage of the opportunities offered from the modern technologies of information and communication. Such opportunities necessary in military missions, and anchor development and definition in the international field, represents conceptual reference so that modern Armed Forces can be organized, trained and employed. The VBM 8x8 "Freccia" is in fact the first half of the Armed Forces to exit from the assembly line completely digitized, that is equipped of systems and apparatuses concur that it of being a fundamental element of the modern operating system constituted of soldier, platform, robotics airplane and arrangments of commando and control. The elements are these that will characterize the operating structure of the future digitized medium Brigades.

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Page last modified: 17-01-2015 19:49:46 ZULU