A total of 125 Italian Army Ariete MBTs will be upgraded. (Italian MoD)
Lieutenant Colonel Salvatore Bizzarro, head of the Force Development Section of the Italian Army General Staff's Capability Development and Financial Planning Division, presented plans to modernise his service's armoured forces and develop new-generation platforms on the last day of SAE Media Group's Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability (FAVS) 2023 conference held in London from 13 to 15 November. He said legacy capabilities would be modernised in the short term and new-generation platforms developed in the medium term.
The Italian Army's Ariete main battle tank (MBT) will be upgraded and its Dardo infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) will receive a life extension, according to Lt Col Bizzarro. He added that Italy would procure a new MBT and variants, looking at the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS). Italy could join MGCS, according to media reports.
He also spoke of the development of a family of armoured infantry combat systems (AICSs) with an advanced performance based on mature technology. For the latter, he expected at least 10% growth potential so it can become a system of systems. He said the AICS would be interoperable and integrated by design, with a modular approach, open architecture, and advanced protection systems not only against kinetic threats but also Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA). The family of platforms numbering 1,050 vehicles would be made up of over 10 variants, including IFVs armed with 30 mm or 120 mm guns, a command post vehicle, an air-defence vehicle, 81 mm and 120 mm mortar carriers, a joint fire support vehicle, a forward observer vehicle, an engineering reconnaissance vehicle, and a casualty evacuation vehicle.