Italian Navy orders amphibious armoured personnel carriers
On 22 December, Italy's Directorate of Land Armaments signed a contract with IDV for 36 Amphibious Armoured Vehicles (VBAs). This is part of a wider programme to renew and expand Italy's national armoured vehicle fleets, here aimed at increasing the sea projection capability of the navy.
The VBA 8x8 vehicle can be launched and recovered from an amphibious vessel in open ocean and is designed for high mobility and ballistic protection on land.
It is powered by a 700hp FPT Cursor 16 engine, coupled to an automatic seven-speed gearbox and driveline derived from that of the Centauro and VBM Freccia. The VBA has a maximum road speed of 105km/h, while two rear-mounted hydraulic propellers allow navigation 'beyond Sea State 3' and a top water speed of 6kt.
The platform is equipped with a Leonardo HITROLE Light remote turret, with a 12.7mm machine gun.
The VBA design for the Italian Navy is based on the SuperAV 8x8 amphibious platform selected for the US Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) programme, provided in partnership with BAE Systems.
The vehicles will replace ageing in-service AAV7-A1 platforms. Shephard Defence Insight reports that the Italian Navy has an overall requirement for 64 VBAs and that trials with the current batch will inform future procurement, including of non-APC variants.
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