The multi-year program under consideration in the Chambers related to the renewal of the combat capability of heavy infantry, through the acquisition of a family of Armored Infantry Combat System (AICS) platforms, hinged on a combat platform (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and a number of support platforms. More in detail, the acquisition program will allow to equip: two Brigades (one armored and one heavy), the general support units and training / training bodies with highly integrated systems of new generation, in perspective, provides for the possibility of equipping an additional heavy brigade.
The Defense points out that the program is part of a broader project aimed at renewing the entire combat capability of heavy forces through the acquisition of families of platforms (system of systems) characterized by modular design, high technological innovation and full interoperability according to NATO requirements and standards. This family of platforms is centered on an Armored lnfantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) and a series of support versions (command post, counter-tank, mortar carrier, genius spoilers, explorers, anti-aircraft, wound carriers, ammunition carriers and driving school).
In the opinion of the Defense, the acquisition of the new generation combat capability within the program under consideration will entail for the Army “a significant generational leap compared to the combat power expressible by the current Dardo and M113 derived lines, allowing the introduction into service of a combat system to be used in all operational contexts, including those with a high digitization index and with high levels of threat”. Land platforms will feature next-generation, technologically mature solutions based on a system design that provides continued growth potential, as well as Fostering Battlespace Management with other platforms, as well as integration/interoperability/interconnection of command and control devices. They will make it possible to contribute effectively to the achievement of multi-domain effects and to the success in land operations conducted in the main operating environments foreseeable today. In this perspective, the AICS program will have to guarantee municipality of configuration with the Centauro II and VBM programs, which are flanked temporally and operationally, with regard to on-board weapon systems, C5ISTAR devices (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Reconnaissance) and automotive components.
Among the military requirements, the technical characteristics of the new generation platforms contemplated in the program, including: high mobility on and off-road; ability to operate in silent watch mode and to reduce acoustic, thermal, radar and electromagnetic traces; ability to carry and provide protection to the infantry/troublemaker squad and/or any enablers; ability to integrate weapon systems of different types according to the desired effects (eg .: counter-tank, mortars, for air defense at very short range); ability to integrate the latest generation systems and sensors, even remotely (unmanned air and ground systems); more agile maintenance processes based on predictive logistics systems, able to optimize costs and procedures, in order to ensure maximum operational availability; high growth potential, thanks to design, open electronic and system architectures, payloads and energy production suitable for intercepting and integrating technological evolutions and adaptations.
In the opinion of the Defense, the logistical support must be integrated, with: the acquisition of an initial supply of spare parts for the implementation of the “maintenance by replacement” policy; the availability of spare parts throughout the life cycle of the system and easy accessibility to all its components; a modular and streamlined spare parts supply chain, based on time optimization; -the management of the system configuration and the associated technical-logistical documentation; monitoring of any emerging obsolescence; the simplicity of execution of preventive and corrective maintenance activities, through the definition of initial parameters of reliability, maintainability, operational availability and testability.
The introduction of the new platform into service will be accompanied by the establishment of specific basic training courses and the revision of training programs to adapt them to new skills and employment profiles. The training program will cover all the components (crews, operators, maintainers, etc.) in various capacities interested in the program, in the various phases of phase-in and operational life. In particular, qualification courses will be provided for technical-maintenance personnel, initially by the Company, also through On Job Training programs. The courses will be preparatory to the training of internal teams of instructors who will allow to develop the training process for the staff on their own.
Ad hoc training seminars must also be provided, by the Company, to fill any knowledge gaps of military personnel following any updates. Finally, it is pointed out that the family of platforms in question must be able to operate in national and multinational contexts and ensure maximum interoperability in terms of performance with the platforms of the heavy and armored segment currently in service (modernization of the Ariete tank and the derived Leopard platforms) and soon to be introduced (development of the new generation armored combat capability). Similarly, command/control/navigation, identification, hard and soft kill active protection systems must be compatible and integrable with those already in use or soon to be introduced in order to maintain and/or raise the level of digitization of the Forces. The interoperability of systems/equipment at NATO and EU level will be ensured, in the terms indicated by the STANAG (NATO Standardization Agreement) and other applicable requirements.
As far as relations with industry are concerned, the industrial sectors concerned are mainly those of the mechanical, electronic, optoelectronics and communication/command/control systems industries. In any case, it will be necessary to put in place all the predispositions aimed at maintaining the Design Authority of the developed vehicles at national level. It is certainly necessary to compare starting from the traditional national industrial subjects of proven expertise in the field of armored combat vehicles (Iveco – Leonardo)
With regard to duration, the AICS program is conceived according to a multi-year development plan planned to start in 2024 and a total duration of thirteen years (2024-2036), including preliminary studies, aimed at mitigating any risks of the program and thus allowing the rapid acquisition development. The project of complete renewal of the entire combat capacity of heavy forces through the acquisition of platform families in favor of combat units, support units and training / training bodies has an estimated cost of about € 16,200 M.
The AICS program, the subject of this sheet, is part of this larger project and has a total burden is estimated at € 6,050 million, referring to the acquisition of 570 AICS platforms (corresponding to the equipment planned for two Brigades, one heavy and one battleship), the related logistical support, training courses, vehicles dedicated to transport and the necessary infrastructural adjustments. The first phase of the program, with an estimated value of € 3,735.57 million, is financed from the appropriations deriving from chapters of the investment sector of the Ordinary Budget of the Ministry of Defense within the resources available under current legislation. This phase is in turn divided into two parts: the first part, funded for € 345 million, aimed at: conducting a preliminary study campaign aimed at defining and mitigating program risks and setting up project management activities; carry out pre-contractual, prototype and development/homologation activities of AICS platforms; carry out the infrastructural adjustments of the sites intended to receive the AICS platforms; define logistic studies and integrated logistic support; acquire functional ammunition for homologation activities, platform certification, basal training and stocks; acquire transport vehicles for AICS platforms; the second part, financed for € 3,390.57 million, implemented independently and independently from the others with a view to giving it certain self-consistency, which will guarantee: the acquisition of a first share of AICS platforms (whose quantities will derive from the hammer prices of the supply) and the related integrated logistical support; the implementation of infrastructural adaptations of the sites intended to receive the platforms; the supply of transport vehicles for the platforms themselves. The completion of the program, for the remaining total forecast value of € 2,314.43 million, will be achieved through subsequent measures aimed at completing the equipment and acquiring integrated logistical support. These interventions, in compliance with an incremental and progressive logic, as well as the expected criterion of self-consistency, may be contracted subject to their possible refinancing.