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IMH 2023: Italy sets out future rotorcraft requirements

The Italian Armed Forces operate a range of conventional helicopter types, including the AW101 pictured. They are now looking at the drivers and technologies that will be needed to replace them. (Leonardo)

The Italian military has spelled out its future rotorcraft requirements, with the commander of Rome Air Force Command setting out the country's key technological and operational drivers.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) conference held in London from 21 to 23 February, Lieutenant General Giandomenico Taricco said that rotorcraft will remain fundamental to the future capabilities of the Italian Armed Forces, and that a number of national and international initiatives are ongoing to best determine what form this capability will take once current fleets are retired from service.

β€œThe helicopter will remain as a key player in many future scenarios, and we need to develop the flight envelope, the avionics, weapons, and self-protection capabilities, because we need to fight in a very contested A2/AD [anti-access/area denial] environment that is quite normal now,” Lt Gen Taricco said on 21 February. β€œWe have a number of ongoing initiatives that are looking at how best to invest to achieve these new technologies. We have an Italian MoD cross-functional team that is sharing data across the different services.”

According to Lt Gen Taricco, the baseline requirements for any future Italian rotorcraft are to operate in a multidomain environment; have improved agility and payload (up to 17 fully equipped troops); a reduced acoustic signature; more than 250 kt cruise speed; an aerial refuelling capability; and manned-unmanned teaming and interoperability with unmanned vehicles.

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