Wednesday, September 21, 2011

VBM 8x8 Freccia Infantry Fighting Vehicle Italian Armed Forces

The sixth vehicle under consideration for FRES was the 8 x 8 Freccia (Arrow) VBM (Veicolo Blindato Medio, Medium Armoured Vehicle) developed by the Consortium Iveco-Oto Melara for the Italian Army. The Freccia is derived from the 105mm armed Centauro tank destroyers that the consortium built for the army between 1991 and 1996 and features a slightly longer and narrower hull than the Centauro. The Freccia is protected against 20mm attack over the frontal arc and with all round protection against 12.7mm attack and can be fitted with up to three tonnes of additional passive or reactive armour. To service plans to buy 249 Freccias in six versions:

the baseline VBC IFV fitted with an Oto Melara Hitfist Plus two-person turret armed with a 25mm KBA cannon, a 120mm mortar carrier, an anti-tank vehicle armed with the Rafael Armament Development Authority Spike-Long Range missile, a command post, a recovery vehicle and an ambulance. The IFV crew consists of a commander, gunner, driver and seven infantrymen in the rear compartment. The Freccia can withstand a 6 kg TNT blast under any wheel and protection can be increased to withstand an 8 kg blast. The Freccia will equip two medium brigades while the army heavy forces will operate the Ariete tank and the tracked Dardo IFV.

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.

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.


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