IVECO/Oto Melara C-1 Ariete

     Notes:  The Ariete (Italian for ďRamĒ) is similar in form and concept to the Leopard 2 or Leclerc, being a modern design with a 120mm gun, advanced fire control and night vision, and composite armor for protection.  In fact, some sources say that the Arieteís initial design concepts started with the Leopard 1 as a base (the Italians used and to an extent still use the Leopard 1), though the design of the Ariete is considerably more advanced than the Leopard 1.  The Ariete is a product of two of the largest military contractors in Italy, and also uses license-built design components from other countries.  The first deliveries of the Ariete began in 1995; deliveries of the Mk1 version (somewhat curtailed by budgetary problems) were completed in 2002.  An upgraded version, the Mk 2, is currently in development; the prototypes were demonstrated to the Italian Army in 2005, and the primary obstacle to the deployment of the Mk 2 appears to hinge on the Italian Armyís lack of funds for it.  To this end, the IVECO/Oto Melara consortium has been pursuing export sales, but none have yet to materialize.

 

The Ariete Mk 1

     The design of the Ariete Mk 1 is standard, with the driver at the front center deck, and commander and loaderís hatches on the turret roof.  The commanderís hatch is ringed by vision blocks, while the loaderís hatch has a single wide-angle vision block to the front and another to the left.  The commander and loader both can have pintle-mounted machineguns, though in practice the loader does not always have a machinegun mounted, as the loader can also operate the commanderís machinegun if necessary.  The commanderís machinegun can be aimed and fired from under armor.  The commander has more simplified versions of the gunnerís sights; these give him basic night vision and magnified day vision and a simple aiming reticule without access to the laser rangefinder or ballistic computer.  (The commander has access to the gunnerís thermal imager, but no control over it.)  These give the Ariete Mk 1 a basic level of hunter-killer capability, as well as allowing the commander to take control of the main gun for use against targets at close range.  (Under normal circumstances, the commander can feed basic target location information to the gunnerís computer, and then he would let the gunner take over from there.)

     Construction is largely of all-welded steel, with spacing over some arcs of the armor and composite armor over the frontal arc of the Ariete, in addition to armored track skirts.  The turret bustle also has blow-out panels and blast doors similar to those of the M-1 Abrams tank.  The turret bustle contains 15 rounds of main gun ammunition, with the remaining 27 rounds being in armored bins in the hull that are also surrounded by anti-spalling liners.  The left side of the turret has a small (but quite heavy) hatch to make ammunition resupply easier; protection level of this hatch is equal to that of the rest of the turret side, but it is not large enough for a crewmember to enter or exit the vehicle through it.  The crew is protected by an NBC overpressure system with a collective NBC system backup.

     The gun is manufactured by the Otobreda branch of Oto Melara, but conforms to the standard Rheinmetall 120mm L/44 gun used by NATO (and many other places in the world).  It can use any sort of standard NATO 120mm ammunition, as well as some made by other countries such as Israel and Egypt.  Traverse of the turret and elevation of the gun are electro-hydraulic with mechanical backups; the firing of the gun and coaxial machinegun are electrical with manual backups.  The gunner has a full night and day vision suite, a ballistic computer, and a laser rangefinder.  On each side of the turret are four smoke grenade launchers; these are the same launcher clusters used on the Centauro and the Dardo IFV.  The smoke grenades can be fired electrically by the commander, loader, or gunner, but the Ariete is also equipped with a laser warning system that can automatically fire the smoke grenades.  The smoke grenades are somewhat larger than NATO standard, being 80mm grenades.

     The Ariete Mk 1 is equipped with an IVECO MTCA engine, a supercharged diesel that develops 1250 horsepower.  The transmission is a license-produced version of the German Renk LSG-3000 fully-automatic transmission.  The engine and transmission form a complete power pack that can be removed from the Ariete as one unit.  The driver has a 180-degree arc of vision blocks, including one that can be removed and replaced with an IR vision block.  The driver uses a steering wheel and otherwise standard gas and brake pedals; his seat is a power-adjustable seat (in all directions) with a manual backup.  The Ariete primarily uses a pair of flexible-bag-type tanks, but a small auxiliary tank carried internally ensure that fuel will still flow when the Ariete is climbing or descending steep slopes.  If one of the fuel tanks is damaged and in danger of catching fire (or already on fire), the commander can cut off fuel flow from that tank, and a fire suppression system will automatically kick in.  Access to the tank can be re-established once the danger is passed.

 

Ariete Mk 2

     Called the Enhanced Ariete during its early development, the Ariete Mk 2 may spend a lot of time in limbo due to Italian budget shortfalls Ė development and trials continue, but the Italian Army has as of yet no concrete plans to buy any of them.  Nonetheless, IVECO and Oto Melara say they are ready to commence production of the Mk 2 at any time.

     Perhaps the biggest difference between the Mk 1 and Mk 2 is the main gun Ė on the Mk 2, the gun will be an L/55 120mm gun which is fed by an autoloader, with the loader crewmember being eliminated.  The armor suite, though only modestly improved, is modular, allowing repairs to be quickly made in the field and improvements made to the armor package as new armor developments are available or if the Italian Army desires even heavier armor.  The Mk 2 also has lugs for ERA on the turret front, turret sides, glacis, hull sides, and the forward portion of the turret roof.  The commander has a true hunter-killer capability, with his own day/night vision suite, laser rangefinder, ballistic computer, and gunsight for the main gun and coaxial machinegun.  The loaderís hatch becomes the gunnerís hatch, but is otherwise unchanged, though the gunner does not have any control over the commanderís machinegun.  The ballistic computers are improved models with updated software and more computing power.  Rearrangement of turret components and ammunition storage has allowed the Mk 2 to carry a little more ammunition, and given a bit more space for the crew to carry some personal items or other items inside the tank.  Finally, the Mk 2 has the SICCONA navigation and command and control system, allowing it to not only use GPS or inertial navigation, but plot enemy and friendly positions and keep track of them in a dynamic battle situation.  This system will be interoperable with similar NATO systems.

     Another major improvement is the power pack, along with the suspension and drive train.  The Mk 2 is powered by a new version of the IVECO MTCA, with a power output of 1500 horsepower.  The engine also has a reduced smoke and IR signature and quicker acceleration.  Wider tracks increase performance in soft terrain or snow.  The Italians have given little details, but apparently they have developed some sort of RAM coating the exterior of the Mk 2.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: In the Twilight 2000 timeline, deliveries of the Ariete Mk 1 began in 1993, but pre-war lack of funding meant that production was slower than expected, so total production was little more than in real life (about 240 total).  The Mk 2 does not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Ariete Mk 1

$536,157

D, A

700 kg

54 tons

4

26

Passive IR (D, C), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

Ariete Mk 2

$996,810

D, A

700 kg

56 tons

3

26

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G, C)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Ariete Mk 1

155/108

35/24

1400

668

Trtd

T6

TF133Cp  TS32Sp  TR29  HF166Cp  HS23Sp  HR18

Ariete Mk 2

162/114

37/25

1400

689

Trtd

T6

TF140Cp  TS34Sp  TR31  HF174Cp  HS25Sp  HR19

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Ariete Mk 1

+4*

Good

120mm Otobreda Gun, MG-42/59, MG-42/59 (C), MG-42/59 (L)

42x120mm, 2500x7.62mm

Ariete Mk 2

+5

Good

120mm Otobreda L/55 Gun, MG-42/59, MG-42/59 (C)

47x120mm, 3000x7.62mm

*If the commander is firing the main gun, his Fire Control modifier is only +1.

 

Oto Melara OF-40

     Notes:  The OF-40 was designed specifically for the export market and was not intended to be used by Italian forces.  The OF-40 was designed by Oto Melara using experience they gained from license-production of the Leopard 1, and the OF-40 does in fact share a number of design features with the Leopard 1 (enough that many parts are compatible with the Leopard 1).  Though Oto Melaraís primary export market was intended to be the Middle East, the only country that actually bought any was the United Arab Emirates, and they bought only 18 (and 3 of the ARV version).  The Libyans also took a hard look at the OF-40, they eventually bought only the ARV version, and not the main battle tank version.  The OF-40 is no longer marketed, and they make spare parts only upon demand.

     The OF-40 Mk 1 was a standard sort of tank for the time of its design (1980), though in some areas a bit behind. It does not have the composite armor of some of its contemporaries, but it does have the virtue of being lighter and cheaper than them.  It has night vision, but not thermal imaging. The original version used a 105mm gun instead of the 120mm gun that was becoming in vogue at the time.  Fire control was adequate, but not exceptional.  Stabilization was rather poor compared to other contemporary designs.  Armor protection largely consisted of welded steel plates, with some faces having spaced armor.  The frontal armor used greatly sloped armor to increase protection without an undue increase in the OF-40ís weight. 

     Layout is largely conventional, though the driver is at the front right instead of the front left or center like most tank designs. To his left is a bin containing ammunition for the main gun.  The driver has vision blocks for the frontal arc; the middle vision block can be replaced with an IR vision block.  The commander has night vision and all-around vision blocks; the loaderís hatch has vision blocks for the front and left side of the tank.  The commander has a machinegun on a simple pintle mount.  NBC systems consist of a simple collective NBC system that the crewmembers may plug their protective masks into.

     In 1981, Oto Melara improved the OF-40, hoping for additional export sales; this was the OF-40 Mk 2.  Fire control and gun stabilization were improved, and the gunnerís sight had a thermal imager added (which the commander could also see through).  A ballistic computer laser rangefinder were added.  Unfortunately, the only sales were again to the UAR, who bought 18 more, plus upgrade kits for the OF-40 Mk 1s they already had.

     The OF-40/120 Mk 2A had an heavily-upgraded night vision suite, including an independent head for the commander to give the new OF-40 a hunter-killer capability.  The ballistic computer and laser rangefinder were upgraded and more integrated with the gunnerís sight.  Ammo bins were armored, and composite armor was incorporated into the frontal armor.  And the main gun was replaced with a 120mm NATO/Rheinmetall-type gun, the same type used on the Ariete.  Unfortunately, the OF-40/120 Mk 2A found no buyers, and was discontinued without any sales being made.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The OF-40 found pre-war sales only to the United Arab Emirates, but during the war, sales were made to Thailand and Greece, and some were taken into service in the Italian Army.  A few OF-40/120 Mk2As (about 10) were sold to the United Arab Emirates before the war, but most ended up in the hands of the Italian Army, who continued low-rate production during the Twilight War until the factory was destroyed by air strikes.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

OF-40 Mk 1

$308,908

D, G, A

700 kg

45.5 tons

4

26

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (C, G)

Shielded

OF-40 Mk 2

$422,653

D, G, A

700 kg

45.6 tons

4

26

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (C, G), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

OF-40/120 Mk 2A

$471,641

D, G, A

700 kg

49 tons

4

26

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (C, G), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

OF-40 Mk 1/Mk 2

131/91

30/20

1000

454

Trtd

T6

TF58Sp  TS25Sp  TR22  HF72Sp  HS18Sp  HR14

OF-40/120 Mk 2A

120/84

27/18

1000

489

Trtd

T6

TF92Cp  TS36Sp  TR35  HF116Cp  HS26Sp  HR22

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

OF-40 Mk 1

+2

Basic

105mm L-7 Gun, MG-42/59, MG-42/59 (C)

57x105mm, 5700x7.62mm

OF-40 Mk 2

+3

Fair

105mm L-7 Gun, MG-42/59, MG-42/59 (C)

57x105mm, 5700x7.62mm

OF-40/120 Mk 2A

+3

Fair

120mm Otobreda Gun, MG-42/59, MG-42/59 (C)

40x120mm, 5700x7.62mm