The main procurement innovations of the new 2017-2019 Documento Programmatico Pluriennale (multiyear procurement plan, DPP in Italian) - published three months late in order to include the latest €12.8 billion multiyear appropriations in the "investment fund" approved by Parliament in July – is the launch of two new major program for the army.
The army, thanks to “its” Chief of the Defense Staff, General Claudio Graziano, will now in turn obtain additional investment funds, after similar facilities were extended to the air force (for the F-35) and the navy (Naval Law). Already in 2016, the army was authorized to launch two major programs: the new Centauro 2 wheeled tank and the new Mangusta 2 (EE) combat helicopter.
The new DPP gives the green light to the replacement of the army’s "flagship," the Ariete tank that entered service in the 1990s (200 units costing €4.4 million each were produced, and six were deployed to Iraq) For the new Ariete 2, which will be developed by the Iveco (Fiat) - Oto Melara (Leonardo) consortium, the ministry of defense has requested €35 million over three years, but the final cost will go exceed €1 billion as the in-depth “modernization” will cost at least €5 million each, and the army plans to have 200 Ariete 2 in service by 2028.
The other program announced by the DPP is the launch of the new lightweight armored Lince 2 "NEC" (Enhanced Network Capability). For the acquisition of 34 prototypes produced by Iveco (the first two were delivered in June), the defense ministry requested €53 million over six-years. Here, too, the final cost of the program will be around € 1 billion, as the estimated unit cost is over €0.5 million and the army plans to buy almost 2,000 Lince 2 NECs by 2034. The Lince fleet will ultimately reach 3,850 vehicles, including the Lince 1s which have been in service for the last ten years and cost an average of €0.4 million each).
With these two programs, the army’s "official" wish list now only includes new Dardo 2 tracked combat vehicle, of which it wants 255 units, but this will be discussed next year. Out of the list, but already taken for granted, is the new Iveco MUV 70.20 truck with which the army wants to replace 2,000 old VM-90 Torpedo utility vehicles.
Click here for the DPP (231 PDF pages, in Italian) on the Italian MoD website.