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Otomatic SPAAG
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)
Height 3.07m (10ft 1in) [1]
Crew 4

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)

The Otomatic was an Italian prototype self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) designed and built by OTO-Melara.

Design and development[edit]

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, but rapid-fire, 35 mm guns.[2]

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 already widespread presence of anti-aircraft missiles reduced the need for a long-range AA gun on the modern battlefield. Although, it is much cheaper to fire a proximity-fused high-caliber shell versus a cheap ISR UAV or suicidal UAV, compared to launching a guided missile. The same is true against a terror-sponsored attack by a sailplane/glider, such as in the Night of the Gliders. The Italian army needed another turret used with a Leopard 1 chassis (the turret was to be adaptable into 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 materialised, 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.[3] 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 customers, despite the 76 mm gun was already well known and widespread in many navies around the world.[4]

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.[5]


  1. ^ Hogg, Ian. Twentieth-Century Artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000. ISBN 0-7607-1994-2 Pg.262
  2. ^ Po, Enrico: L'OTOMATIC si presenta, RiD magazine, Chiavari, july 1987 p.36
  3. ^ Po, Enrico: L'arsenale dell'Esercito di Piacenza, RiD Magazine, september 1997 p. 34–38
  4. ^ Annati, Massimo: I moderni semoventi contraerei, RiD Magazine, november 1997
  5. ^ Po, Eugenio: I nuovi semoventi di Oto Melara, RiD Magazine, Chiavari, October 2011

External links[edit]

External image
Otomatic SPAAG
The Otomatic SPAAG