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Iveco and Leonardo unveil design concept for next generation of tracked IFV for Italian army

A first image was published on the Internet by the Italian Defense magazine "Rivista Italiana Difesa" showing a drawing of a design concept for the next generation of tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) for the Italian Armoured Infantry Combat System (AICS) program.
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Drawing of the design concept of future tracked armored IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle for the Italian Armoured Infantry Combat System AICS program. (Picture source Rivista Italiana Difesa)

According to information published on the Internet by Rivista Italiana Difesa, the Italian Ministry of Defense plans to invest around €6Bn for 679 vehicles in the framework of the AICS (Armored Infantry Combat System) program. Italian army would like to replace its Dardo tracked IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and the Ariete MBT (Main Battle Tank).

According to a road map 2021-2023 published in 2021 by the Italian Ministry of Defense, the aim of the AICS program is to renew the entire combat capacity of Italian land forces, through the acquisition of multirole platform systems that can be configured as heavy infantry (Armored Infantry Combat System – AICS), centered on a combat platform (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle – AIFV) and a series of support platforms including command Post, counter-tank, mortar rack, sapper genius, explorers, anti-aircraft, casualty carriers, ammunition carriers and driving training.

The Dardo is a tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) jointly developed by the Italian companies Oto Melara and IVECO under the program name of VCC-80. In May 2002, the first of 200 Dardo IFVs was formally handed over to the Italian Army at Oto Melara's La Spezia facility. This vehicle was delivered to the 8th Bersaglieri Regiment, part of the Garibaldi Brigade.

The design of the Dardo consists of three main parts with the driver and engine at the front, a two-man turret in the middle, and the troops' compartment at the rear that can accommodate six infantrymen. Two are seated on each side facing the front and two in the center, one of which sits facing the left side of the vehicle and the other facing the rear.

The hull and turret of the Dardo tracked armored IFV are of all-welded aluminum armor construction, with an additional layer of ballistic steel armor bolted to the hull and turret for increased protection. Over the frontal arc, the vehicle is protected against 25mm APDS projectiles. The side armor protects against 14.5mm API projectiles.

The turret of the Dardo is armed with one Oerlikon Contraves 25 mm KBA dual-feed cannon. One 7.62 mm MG 42/59 machine is mounted coaxially to the left of the 25mm cannon. Mounted on either side of the turret is a Raytheon Systems Company TOW ATGW (Anti-Tank Guided Missile). This missile can destroy targets at a maximum firing range of 3,750 m. A bank of four 80 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers is mounted on either side of the turret, firing forwards.

Iveco an Leonardo unveil design concept for next generation of tracked IFV for Italian army 925 002
Dardo VCC-80 tracked armored IFV of the Italian army at the edition 2004 of Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris, France. (Picture source Army Recognition)

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