The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) revealed the signing of a contract to supply an additional 14 mortar carrier and 26 command post variants of the Freccia infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), as well as six “10×10” rescue and recovery vehicles to the Italian Army.
Of the 26 command post vehicles, 13 will be in tactical unit and 13 in command unit configuration, the company specified.
Signed on December 30, 2021, the contract is part of the ongoing supply of the Veicolo Blindato Medio (VBM) Freccia IFV program to the Italian Army’s Second Medium Brigade. It also includes an upgrade to a “Plus” version of the VBM platform, as well as long-term integrated logistics support for all platforms purchased.
The VBM Combat Plus version will see changes to both the vehicle and the turret. Changes to the vehicle include upgrading to common rail technology for the engine, taking it from 550 HP to 660 HP ready for a future hybrid-electric traction system, and upgrades to the driveline, increasing growth potential by up to 15 percent compared to current levels, the company explained.
When it comes to the turret, Leonardo is upgrading the fire control system, introducing electronic components capable of interfacing the new “Janus D” and “Lothar D” digital optic detection and aiming systems.
The contract also includes the supply of a new digital intercom system and a fully upgraded CIS system with four-channel SDR VQ1 radio, as well as the new C2D / N Evo command and control system, both developed by Leonardo.
The new VBM Plus will benefit from increased mobility, lethality and integrated C4I. The vehicle will also be equipped with Galileo PRS technology developed in Italy as part of the European Union secure satellite navigation system. In specific terms this means the VBM will be equipped with a newly developed satellite receiver, the first of its kind capable of receiving secure satellite navigation services from both the US GPS and European Galileo PRS systems.
Additionally, the recovery and rescue platforms feature all-wheel drive over 5 axles, with three steering axles, FPT Industrial’s 680 HP Cursor 16 engine and a new-design cabin offering the highest crew protection standards. These vehicles can lift and move loads of up to 25 t from a stable platform and recover vehicles broken down, damaged or overturned with overall weight up to 32 t.