Colombian Military Negotiate for Italian Armoured Vehicles

Pietro Batacchi – 24/04/201

Italian manufacturers are in talks with Colombian officials to negotiate the delivery of new military vehicles including the 8×8 IFV VBM Freccia. The Colombia Army has a requirement for a new 8×8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle as it is trying to improve its armoured component. The Colombian Army currently operates with the Brazilian made EE-9 Cascavel and EE-11 Urutu.

Colombia is also looking at the other vehicles such as the US Stryker that appears to be favoured due to the strong military and strategic links between Colombia and US. The two countries have worked together in a strong partnership aimed to fight drug traffic and illegal smuggling. The US can use Colombian bases and infrastructures to deploy military assets, including CIA and American Special Forces personnel operate in Colombia to mentor and support local counterparts.

Freccia Armoured Vehicle for the Colombian Military

However, Italian CIO (Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara) is trying to push the Freccia armoured vehicle proposing a large military package also including the Leopard 1 A5 MBT’s and the M113 APC coming from the Italian Army’s surplus.

The Leopard 1 A5’s were placed in storage as Italian armoured brigades dismissed them in favour of new Ariete MBTs. The 31sth Armoured Regiment « Pinerolo » Brigade was the last Italian Army Regiment to be equipped with Leopard 1 A5 as it was converted for the Italian Army’s « Forza NEC » Program, the Italian net-centric program.

The Leopard 1 A5 was produced by German KMW and Rheinmetall companies and bought by the Italian Army in the Eighties to use with armoured units alongside American M60s. The Leopard 1 A5’s were fitted out with a larger turret than the previous models to host a new fire control systems and enable night operations. Currently in the Italian Army surplus there could be more than 100 Leopard 1 A5’s.

The M113’s are still in service with Italian Army armoured and mechanized units, but they are being replaced with Freccias and they could be available as second hand equipment for the export. The Freccia armoured vehicle is currently deployed with Italian contingent in Afghanistan in Shindand western province.

At Eurosatory 2012 in Paris, the biannual land systems exhibition, CIO will show for the first time a new Freccia variant suited for RECCE operations and named « Explorer ».

Source: Armed Forces International News

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