|Type||Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Weight||46.0 tonnes (101,400 lb)|
|Length||Hull: 7.27 metres (23 ft 10 in)|
|Width||3.71 m (12 ft 2 in)|
|1× Otobreda 76 mm derived autocannon with 70 rounds|
|Engine||MTU MB 837 Ka-500 diesel engine
750 hp (560 kW)
|Power/weight||16.3 hp / 1 tonne|
|Suspension||Torsion bar suspension|
|500 kilometres (310 mi)|
|Speed||65 km/h (40 mph)|
Design and development
The design combined the chassis of a Palmaria Self-propelled gun (SPG), with a new turret mounting the Otobreda 76 mm gun along with associated search and targeting radars and their fire control systems: an S search radar SMA VPS-A05, with around 15 km range against aircraft and 8 km against helicopters in hovering; and a fire control unit SMA VPG-A06 (Ka band). It also included an optical fire-control system with periscopes for search and aiming, with a laser range-finder. The whole turret was built of steel (roughly with the same thickness of the one used in early Leopard 1s) and weighed 15 tonnes. OTO Melara offered it as a long-range SPAAG that could outperform systems like the Gepard and similar versions with the British Marksman turret that mounted much smaller 35 mm guns.
The gun could also be useful against lighter armored vehicles or older generation tanks. The barrel was strengthened in order to hold greater pressures, so it can fire not only HE, but also APFSDS ammunition. There was also a 7.62 mm turret mount for close defence. However, the Otomatic was never put into production because the widespread presence of anti-aircraft missiles reduced the need for a long-range AA gun on the modern battlefield. Italian army had to have another turret used with a Leopard 1 chassis (the turret was adaptable to many 40 ton vehicles, like the Leopard or the OF-40), but the amalgamation never happened, as the SIDAM quad 25 mm gun was already in production and, despite being inferior and not all-weather, it was held in production and almost 300 examples were bought. The need for 60-80 OTOMATIC was never satisfied, and the Italian army was even evaluating using a L70 Bofors with a Leopard 1 as 'gap filler'. But this was not adopted as well, as it was too limited for a 1990s anti-aircraft self-propelled gun. OTOMATIC therefore had no orders by the Italian army, as both SIDAM and Skyguard Aspide were already in order with very high costs, coupled with the Stinger missiles, the upgraded HAWK and the coming MEADS missiles. Therefore, the costly (over 6 mld of lires, excluding the new logistic) 76 mm SPAG was never ordered, and received no order even from foreign costumers, despite the 76 mm gun was already well known and widespread in many navies around the world.
OTO-Melara attempted to revive the concept with the AMRAD ("Artillery Multi-Role Area Defense"), which had a much lighter mounting, and which was intended for use on a variety of wheeled vehicles. In order to lower the weight of the system, the turret's armor was reduced and the radars were removed and replaced with an optical-only aiming system cued by a remote radar. Despite these changes, the AMRAD failed to sell.
- Po, Enrico: L'OTOMATIC si presenta, RiD magazine, Chiavari, july 1987 p.36
- Po, Enrico: L'arsenale dell'Esercito di Piacenza, RiD Magazine, september 1997 p. 34–38
- Annati, Massimo: I moderni semoventi contraerei, RiD Magazine, november 1997
- Po, Eugenio: I nuovi semoventi di Oto Melara, RiD Magazine, Chiavari, October 2011
|The Otomatic SPAAG|