Italian Army - Esercito Italiano EI
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy was divided for centuries into small states and principalities, each one of which had its own army. Before the time of Napoleon one cannot speak of an "Italian Army". Napoleon, after sweeping away the old dynasties, set up divisions of his own army, recruiting from all parts of Italy. For the first time, Italians fought under a single banner, the red-white-and-green flag of today. Italian regiments took an active part in most of the Napoleonic war, especially distinguishing themselves in the Russian campaign. The battle of Malo-Jaroslavetz (Oct. 24, 1812) is known in history as the "Battle of the Italians". "The glory of this day is yours," Napoleon said to his Italian army; "not even the Old Guard could have done better".
With the fall of Napoleon the various local princes returned to power. Italy was once more divided into various states, many of them under Austrian domination. Meanwhile, throughout Italy, a great historical movement known as the Risorgimento (Revival) was getting under way. Its aims were the unity, independence and freedom of the whole peninsula. The King of Sardinia, whose reign included Liguria and Piedmont as well, put himself at the head of this movement and in 1861 the Kingdom of Italy came into being. For the first time in 1400 years Italy was unified and free.
Along with the new kingdom came the first real Italian army, Because unification had been achieved under the leadership of the Kingdom of Sardinia, this army was an enlarged continuation of the Sardinian Army. Even today the names, flags and ceremonies of certain units go back to the former King of Sardinia.
Under the Defense white paper "Investing In Security - Transforming the Italian Military" published in early 2006, the base for transformation of the Italian Military is the 190,000-strong, all-volunteer Force, recently consolidated by suspending National service effective July 1st 2005 and underway to reach its definitive number. The All-Volunteer Force - is one of the cornerstones to pursue transformation. Significant capabilities are unthinkable without the availability of highly-qualified personnel, which can be ensured only through longterm employment.
The Long Term Plan’s top priorities call for reorganizing and outfitting the Land Forces so that they may be able to carry out the full spectrum of military duties, from those of low intensity to the most demanding ones. The goal (which will be pursued while maintaining a balanced relationship between quality and quantity, insofar as the actual number of military personnel represents an important operational and capacitating factor for the land component to a greater degree than the others) is to ensure that every projectable Brigade will be fully manpowered, equipped with qualitatively suitable equipment, and capable of drawing from a set of capacitating and logistical assets which will allow the Brigade to reach the capabilities required to fulfill the assigned tasks.
This modernization, as is the case with the components of other services, will take place in a progressive and differentiated manner and while guaranteeing, in every phase of the planning period, the availability of 25 adequate task forces capable of operating within the entire spectrum of different operations.
The highest level of headquarter capabilities will be structured around a Corps Headquarter at a high level of operational readiness, in a position to exercise the functions of “Land Component Headquarters” also in a NATO and/or combined context, and on three Division Headquarters of different degrees of readiness, one of which will be at a high degree of operational readiness, capable of commanding an “Initial Entry Force”. The operational Force, authorized by law will be made up of a set of ten projectable Brigades (three light, three medium, three heavy and one airborne), endowed with diversified operational capacities, from which the following will be drawn, depending on the period in consideration and in relation to the level of modernization achieved:
- a set of “expeditionary” forces at the Division level, made up of different types of Brigades, with a high level of technology and operational readiness and able to convey a Division-level combat capability, as well as an “initial Entry Force” Brigade.
- a set of diverse forces with differentiated operational readiness, capable of conducting a high-intensity operation in a Theatre for six months, or, alternately, to carry out uninterrupted Brigade-level operations at mid-level intensity for a long period of time.
- a set of diverse forces with differentiated operational readiness capable of continually conveying up to three “task-organized” Contingents at Regiment-level for longtime operations.
- an airborne Brigade for the development of air-mechanized operations, with particular tactical mobility and fire support capabilities.
In planning the future Land Component, special attention has been paid to the adaptation of the command and control capabilities, “Combat Support” (CS) and “Combat Service Support” (CSS), and of the reconnaissance, intelligence, target acquisition and electronic warfare components (RISTA-EW). In particular, the CS and CSS will be upgraded and reorganized into functional support Brigades capable of offering, according to the task assigned, the entire spectrum of capabilities requested. Special emphasis will be placed on enhancing the capabilities of the Engineers Corps and of the NBCR Defense, as well as on developing better capabilities in the INFO-OPS and CIMIC sectors.
The acquisition of operational vehicles will be rationalized, standardized within the same Brigade by typology and progressively modernized by means of the introduction of new wheeled (VBC 8x8, Puma 4x4 and6x6) and tracked (Dardo in the specialized versions for CS and CSS tasks) vehicles. The combat, self-projection and net-centric integration capabilities of the individual soldiers will be progressively and substantially enhanced within the framework of the “Future Soldier” program.
The Army Aviation will be reconfigured, introducing greater capabilities in the combat, force projection support and mobility sectors. The modernization of a large number of A129 Mangusta helicopters will offer the necessary support to air-mechanized operations, while new acquisitions (NH-90) will allow adjustments in the air mobility and transport capabilities. The Boeing Company and AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, signed a contract May 13, 2009 for the manufacture and support of 16 ICH-47F Chinook helicopters for the Italian Army. The contract made Boeing the prime subcontractor to AgustaWestland for the new aircraft. The contract is worth approximately 900 million euros ($1.23 billion). Boeing will build the ICH-47F fuselage at its facility in Ridley Park, Pa. Prime contractor AgustaWestland will be responsible for design and systems integration, aircraft final assembly and delivery to the Italian Army. AgustaWestland was expected to begin deliveries in 2013.
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