Ariete

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This article is about the tank. For other uses, see Ariete (disambiguation).
C1 Ariete
Ariete tank.JPG
Ariete
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  Italy
Service history
In service 1995–present
Production history
Produced 1995–Present
Specifications
Weight 54 t (53 long tons; 60 short tons)
Length 9.52 m (31.2 ft)
Width 3.61 m (11.8 ft)
Height 2.45 m (8.0 ft)
Crew 4

Armor Classified, laminated steel/composite
Main
armament
120 mm L44 smoothbore gun
42 rounds (15 rounds inside turret magazine with additional 27 rounds in the hull)
Secondary
armament
7.62 mm MG 42/59 coaxial machine-gun, 7.62 mm MG 42/59 AA machine-gun
2,500 rounds
Engine Fiat MTCA 12V
950 kW (1,270 hp)
Power/weight 22 kW/t (29 hp/t)
Suspension Torsion-bar
Ground clearance 0.44 m (1.4 ft)
Operational
range
600 km (370 mi)
Speed 65 km/h (40 mph)

The C1 Ariete is the main battle tank of the Italian Army, developed by a consortium formed by Iveco-Fiat and Oto Melara (aka CIO, Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara). The chassis and engine were produced by Iveco, while the turret and fire-control system were supplied by Oto Melara. The vehicle carries the latest optical and digital-imaging and fire-control systems, enabling it to fight day and night and to fire on the move. Six prototypes were developed by 1988, which were subject to intensive testing the following year during which the vehicles travelled a combined 16,000 km. Deliveries were first planned for 1993, but in fact took place in 1995 due to delays. Final delivery occurred 8 years later in August 2002.

Design[edit]

The tank has a conventional layout similar to other Western MBTs: with the driver located at the front of the hull, the fighting compartment - towards the middle - and the engine compartment is in the rear of the hull.

Armament[edit]

The Ariete's main armament is a native 120 mm smoothbore cannon developed by OTO Breda, autofrettaged and stress-hardened to increase durability over extended periods of firing, allowing the use of APFSDS-T and HEAT ammunition. The gun is also adapted to fire most NATO-standard rounds of the same calibre. It carries 42 rounds, 27 rounds of which are stored in a special magazine inside the hull, to the left of the driver's position. The remaining ammunition is stored in the rear turret bustle, separated from the crew compartment with an armoured door. The gun barrel has a thermal insulating sleeve and a fume extractor; it is fully stabilized in both azimuth and elevation by an electro-hydraulic drive system.

Secondary armament consists of a 7.62 mm MG 42/59 coaxial machine gun operated by the tank gunner or commander and an additional 7.62 mm MG 42/59 configured as an anti-aircraft weapon operated by the main-gun loader from his hatch.

Fire control and target acquisition[edit]

The tank's sophisticated fire-control system, manufactured by Galileo Avionica, is designated OG14L3 TURMS, and includes day and night panoramic capability for the commander's SP-T-694 primary sight (developed collaboratively by SFIM/Galileo), a stabilized platform including a thermal gunner's sight and a laser rangefinder to increase accuracy and expedite target detection and targeting, and a digital fire-control computer, which is capable of measuring wind speed, humidity, and exterior weather conditions, combining them with the turret's angle of elevation, attitude, and the barrel's physical wear to increase accuracy. This computer is also a component of the tank's navigation system and allows for the exchange of tactical information between vehicles in a network. The Ariete has a "hunter-killer" capability in which the commander spots and designates targets for the gunner in a 360° field of vision around the vehicle without changing his position or exposing himself by unbuttoning from inside the tank. The commander's sight also has a vertical traverse from -10° to +60° from the horizontal, which allows the tank to engage low-flying airborne threats - primarily helicopters. During night fighting, the commander and gunner both share the thermal sight which is able to resolve a 2.3×x2.3 m target from a distance of 1,500 m.

Crew and tank protection[edit]

The Ariete's armour is a steel and composite blend, similar to the British Challenger 2 and the American M1 Abrams.

The Ariete features two side-mounted, electronically fired grenade launchers. Each launcher consists of four barrels which can be intermixed with either smoke or chaff grenades. The smoke grenades are capable of shrouding the tank from visual or thermal detection, while the chaff grenades disperse the tank's radar cross section. The tank is fully NBC protected.[1]

Powerplant and drivetrain[edit]

The Ariete is powered by a 25.8-litre turbo-charged Fiat-Iveco MTCA 12-cylinder diesel engine in a Vee configuration rated at 937 kilowatts (1,250 hp) at 2,300 rpm, with a maximum torque of 4,615 N·m at 1,600 rpm[2] driving through a ZF LSG3000 automatic transmission, with four forward gears and two reverse, allowing for a top cruising speed of 65 km/h and a 0–32 km/h acceleration in 6 s. The computer-controlled transmission allows it to climb grades rated up to 60%, and can ford waterways of up to 1.25 m on-the-fly. The entire engine and transmission assembly can be replaced in under 1 hour.

The Ariete's independent suspension system consists of 14 torsion bars with suspension arms, 10 hydraulic shock absorbers (installed on roadwheels numbers 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7) and 14 friction dampers.

History[edit]

Further development[edit]

C1 Ariete front view.

During the first years of adoption, the Ariete MBT showed some deficiencies regarding the powerplant. While the original V12 1,250 hp FIAT-Iveco MTCA (Modular Turbo-Charged Aftercooler) was a coupling of two of the V6 engines used by several Italian Army vehicles such as the Centauro tank destroyer and the Dardo IFV, it produced less power than the most advanced contemporary western designs. The Ariete's engine had to run at a high RPM to perform well, thus reducing the operating time between failures.

Moreover, to retain a good power-to-weight ratio, the total weight of the tank had to be kept below 60 tonnes. The relatively light weight of the Ariete helped lower consumption and facilitated the transport and mobility of the MBT (especially over bridges). This was obtained partially at the expense of the thickness of the armour that, only partially compensated by the good ballistic shape of the vehicle, raised some doubt about its ability to survive in the harshest environments.

As an improvement, Iveco developed a new version of the MTCA engine. The stroke was lengthened, increasing displacement to 30 litres, with a new common rail direct fuel injection system along a new double turbocharger, increasing power output to 1,200 kW (1,600 hp) at 1,800 rpm (with an electronically reduced torque of 5,500 N·m, maintained from 1,100 to 1,800 rpm to reduce damage to the transmission) and further reducing fuel consumption. The new engine had to be adopted during the first general revision of the existing vehicles, but seems to have been blocked by technical and financial problems. As for the armour, Oto Melara developed two different sets (with different thickness) of adjunctive armour, shown for the first time at Eurosatory 2002.

Operators[edit]

  •  Italy - 200[3]
    • 20° Tank battalion "M.O. Pentimalli", 4° Tank Regiment of Bellinzago Novarese (NO), 41 Ariete
    • 3° Tank battalion "M.O. Galas", 32° Tank Regiment of Tauriano (PN), 41 Ariete
    • 8° Tank battalion "M.O. Secchiaroli", 132° Tank Regiment of Cordenons (PN), 41 Ariete
    • 31° Tank battalion "M.O. Andreani", 131° Tank Regiment of Persano (SA), 41 Ariete

See also[edit]

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]