The Italian MoD is constant the modernization of the navy, with investments in lots of areas that may even maintain the nationwide trade.
The Italian authorities printed, through the summer time, the brand new multiyear protection planning doc (Documento Programmatico Pluriennale della Difesa) for 2022-2024, which illustrates the funding wanted by the Italian navy to maintain and modernize its forces. Many vital investments may be discovered within the doc, however let’s proceed so as.
The strategic state of affairs is predicated, as final 12 months, on a reference state of affairs, referred to as the “prolonged Mediterranean” area, which is at present topic to many vital geopolitical modifications. Among the many important elements of the area, the doc mentions the Libyan state of affairs, the tensions between coastal nations which can be rearming their navy forces, the disputes about sea boundaries and industrial routes. These challenges add as much as the worldwide state of affairs, with COVID-19 and the new position of Russia and China turning into more and more vital.
The Italian Ministry of Protection is concentrated on sustaining a balanced navy energy, whereas additionally renovating and potentiating it with new capabilities. An vital novelty in the previous couple of years are the area and cyber domains, that are set to offer new area for innovation within the informational and decisional sectors.
The systemic shock attributable to the dramatic evolution of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, whose financial and social repercussions are noticeable in a world context already burdened by the echo of the pandemic and by a number of conditions of unresolved battle, will transform the world order and European safety that we’ve got recognized up to now, says the doc.
The invasion introduced again the eye to the significance of symmetrical conflicts in opposition to close to peer adversaries, after many years of asymmetrical battle in opposition to irregular forces, revealed a big typical, cyber and area risk, and even evoked once more the nuclear risk. The return of struggle in Europe, which somebody thought would intensify the disagreements among the many European nations, has as an alternative decided the impact of cementing the cohesion of NATO and of elevating the position of the European Union to a corporation with a geopolitical worth.
That is opposite to the expectations of Russia, which believed it might depend on a disunited NATO and on a weak European Union unable to resolve. Additionally, this was an eye-opener about the necessity for a strengthened navy, after years of postponed investments which have been wanted to extend its deterrent worth and to respect the commitments, undertaken within the NATO context, for the achievement of the edge of two% of GDP for the Protection funds.
On this perspective, the Protection minister Lorenzo Guerini outlined 4 basic strategic priorities: promote an applicable positioning of Italy within the context of worldwide safety; give additional impetus to the method of adapting the navy instrument; absolutely exploit the potential that may be expressed by the Protection Business; proceed efforts when it comes to insurance policies appropriate for addressing present and future challenges.
Let’s now speak concerning the packages in place to succeed in the aims of this 12 months’s Protection planning.
One of many foremost actions for the aerospace part of the Command, Management and Communications (C3) is the completion of the acquisition of the Gulfstream G550-based CAEW/BM&C functionality, in addition to a brand new Digital Warfare functionality. This system, generally known as P-MMMS (Piattaforma Multi-Missione, Multi- Sensore/Multi-Mission, Multi-Sensor Platform), is geared toward acquiring a contemporary asset that may be built-in in a net-centric C4ISTAR structure and later tailored for multi-domain operations.
The ensuing C6ISTAR-EW-enabled belongings are the CAEW, Spydr and JAMMS plane which have been within the works for some years. As we reported final 12 months, a lot of “clear” G550 are being acquired to be transformed at a later stage, just like the one delivered earlier this 12 months. These plane, that the doc calls “inexperienced base JAMMS”, are scheduled to be transformed within the Full Mission Succesful CAEW and Digital Fight variants. A contract for the conversion of two extra CAEW plane might need already been signed.
An attention-grabbing piece of knowledge presumably associated to the P-MMMS program may be discovered below the Pressure Safety and Engagement Functionality entry, which hints on the Digital Fight variant of the plane presumably being the EC-37B Compass Name. Actually, the entry says: “Completion of the acquisition program for brand new plane geared up for and devoted to Digital Warfare operations (EC-37B)”.
As you could know already, the Compass Name system is an airborne tactical digital assault weapon system put in on a closely modified model of the C-130 Hercules, referred to as EC-130H Compass Name. This method disrupts enemy command and management communications, radars, and navigation programs and limits adversary coordination, which is crucial for enemy pressure administration. Following the kind’s retirement introduced in 2014, the U.S. Air Pressure initiated the Compass Name Rehost program, which is able to transfer the present Compass Name programs from the EC-130H to the brand new EC-37B, primarily based on the Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning Plane (CAEW) airframe.
Staying on the Digital Warfare subject, the EC-27J JEDI (Jamming and Digital Protection Instrumentation) fleet is being expanded to a complete of three plane, with two new ones within the RRP2 (Threat Discount Section 2) configuration being transformed, along with the procurement of their floor phase and mission system. As we already reported, the EC-27J is a variant of the profitable Leonardo C-27J Spartan navy transport plane that has been closely modified to carry out EW missions: the plane carries an inner JEDI system that’s coupled with a tail antenna to jam the frequency bands used to remotely function IEDs and UAVs, with a purpose to neutralize them and thus defend personnel on the bottom round areas of curiosity.
The capabilities offered by the secretive EC-27J (whose official designation is YEC-27J in accordance with Italy’s MOD Mission Design Sequence) are supposed for the execution of convoy escort missions the place it supplies from the air an electromagnetic security bubble. The plane was deployed to Erbil, Iraq, for “Prima Parthica” (because the Italian Armed Forces contingent supporting Operation Inherent Resolve is dubbed at nationwide stage). Curiously, the EC-27J of the Italian Air Pressure is the one non-American asset flying the Digital Help and Safety mission in help of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Talking of the C-27J, the planning mentions the works for the completion of the MC-27J Praetorian program. The MC-27 is a particular variant of the Spartan developed to offer help for the Particular Forces of the Comando Operativo Forze Speciali (COFS). Three C-27J that have been already in service and the ItAF have been transformed to the Praetorian configuration with the addition of mission programs, C3ISR gear and a palletized ATK GAU-23 30mm computerized cannon, the identical utilized by the USAF AC-130J.
The Protection planning additionally contains the Spydr, mentioning the leasing of an plane geared up with specialised sensors as hole filler till a devoted asset able to assuring a full risk detection. This entry ought to consult with the 2 King Air 350s, one in all which is a mission-equipped plane and the opposite one used for coaching functions, leased from L3Harris. The plane is anticipated to get replaced by Gulfstream G550 plane with AISREW Mission Programs whose International Navy Sale was accredited by the U.S. State Division in 2020.
Two plane will likely be offered by Italy to be transformed, with L3Harris being the corporate contracted to hold out the modification. The “remaining” form of the Italian AISREW plane needs to be just like the one of many Australian MC-55 Peregrine, a SIGINT-configured G550 that L3Harris is offering to the Royal Australian Air Pressure and developed primarily based on the expertise of the EC-37 Compass Name II and different variants. It appears possible that each one the modifications will likely be embedded at a later stage and the primary airframe will likely be initially used for coaching functions.
Italy can be persevering with its participation within the Maritime Multi Mission Plane (M3A) program with different NATO allies, whose goal is to obtain a devoted plane for lengthy vary surveillance above and belove the ocean floor. The M3A is anticipated to create a brand new technology of maritime surveillance plane that may finally change older platform at present in service.
The planning then strikes to the knowledge superiority part, with its Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance capabilities enabled by Unmanned Aerial Autos. The primary to be talked about is the EUROMALE program, the primary unmanned aerial system (UAS) designed for flight in non-segregated airspace. The airframe is a twin-turboprop with pusher-propeller engines being developed by an Airbus, Leonardo and Dassault consortium. The system is ready to offer a generational leap in comparison with present belongings, integrating open structure, excessive modularity and ease of evolution.
The opposite packages within the ISR part are associated to the continuation of the modernization, potentiation and completion of the MQ-9 fleet, all listed below the Mid Life Modernization (MLM) and operational capabilities upkeep packages. One of many focuses of those packages is the payload, with the improve of sensors and command and management programs to the most recent requirements.
The doc mentions: ”The plane will assure elevated ranges of security and safety in convoys escort missions, offering a versatile protection functionality that may be expressed from the air. It can additionally introduce a brand new safety possibility aimed each at forces on the bottom and for the advantage of aerial belongings throughout excessive depth operations and, finally, to guard civilians within the occasion of a hybrid risk”. This clarification, which was additionally in final 12 months’s doc, was mentioned to consult with the weaponization of the MQ-9.
The weapons have been explicitly talked about in a subsequent entry: “Modernization and renewal of the RPA fleet of the MLE class, the Predator platform, associated weapons and interim options”. Really, the U.S. State Division already accredited in 2015 a doable FMS to Italy for the weaponization of the MQ-9, however there is no such thing as a follow-on information about it. The FMS package deal included AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 and GBU-49 laser guided bombs, GBU-38 JDAM and GBU-54 Laser JDAM bombs.
The Mid Life Modernization contains the procurement of two new MQ-9A Block 5 plane and a floor station, along with the improve of the opposite 5 to the identical configuration. One of many new Predators (the title Reaper has not been adopted in Italy) will change the one shot down in Libya in 2019. Additionally, the Italian MoD is in search of a brand new RPA that will change the MQ-1C Predator A+.
Whereas it didn’t present any new particulars, this 12 months’s doc mentions once more the Tempest sixth technology fighter plane and the broader Future Fight Air System (FCAS) program. Tempest is meant to protect the dominance of the air fight energy by capitalizing the Italian and British participation to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. FCAS is described in this system abstract as a system of programs, with an optionally unmanned plane, manned-unmanned teaming, superior sensors and associated applied sciences.
The UK, Italy and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2021 to collaborate on the mission, remodeling the British FCAS mission in a significant worldwide endeavour. As of now, Sweden has not but absolutely dedicated to affix Tempest, however it’s intently observing the method whereas engaged on the broader FCAS effort. Anyway, the three nations aspire to develop the ideas, sharing workload whereas maximizing their nationwide experience as they attempt in direction of a typical purpose. The purpose of the MoU is to have an equal participation of the signatory nations within the actions associated to Tempest, with constructive results on every personal protection trade, small and medium enterprises, analysis institutes and universities.
Japan can be becoming a member of the FCAS program, after a Letter of Association signed earlier this 12 months with the UK. The 2 nations will conduct cooperative analysis in fighter jet sensor know-how, specializing in what has been referred to as the “Jaguar” system. The “Jaguar” goals on the growth of common frequency sensor know-how to permit plane to “higher detect future threats from air, land and sea, rapidly and precisely finding targets and denying surveillance know-how operated by adversaries. Japan’s anticipated position within the FCAS effort has since expanded, together with the JNAAM long-range air-to-air missile (which is able to profit from the Meteor BVRAAM know-how) and a doable merge of the indigenous F-X program with Tempest.
After the sixth gen, the doc strikes to the present fifth gen with the F-35 Lightning II. The MoD says this system is continuing as deliberate for the primary two tranches of plane, referred to as Section 1 and Section 2a. Section 1 happy the necessities for the acquisition of the primary 28 plane, their engines, gear, preliminary bills and retrofit, along with logistical help till 2022 and the preparation of the nationwide websites in Amendola, Ghedi and the Cavour plane service.
Now, the Section 2a has been initiated because of a technique that may keep away from additional delays in this system and financial savings which might quantity as much as one billion euros. This part covers the procurement of 27 new plane, along with their engines and gear, and the extension of the logistical help. This may enable for a full operational functionality from 2030. Additionally, by the top of the 12 months, the MoD will begin the preliminary negotiation for Section 2b, which is able to result in the acquisition of an extra 35 plane. The overall expense anticipated till 2032 is of seven billion euros. Additionally, the revenues from the F-35 program on the nationwide industries have reached, by the top of 2021, a complete of € 5.17 billion.
The Protection planning strikes on with the belongings at present in service. The Eurofighter Hurricane program now mentions the event of subsequent technology, superior know-how sensors to higher promote the nationwide trade within the transition in direction of the sixth technology. On the similar time, the Twister program is seeking to the improve of the plane to resolve obsolescence points as a result of growing old know-how and to increase the operational life till the deliberate phase-out date (which has not but been formally determined).
The Italian Air Pressure may even work on the completion of its helicopter fleet for the Search And Rescue and Sluggish Mover Intercept missions. The primary entry sees the completion of the acquisition of the HH-139 rescue helicopter, which is an interim resolution for a medium helicopter. Earlier this 12 months, the ItAF took supply of the final HH-139B and the service will now transfer to the conversion of the HH-139A helicopters to the brand new B variant. On the similar time, the HH-101 CSAR helicopter will likely be upgraded to the Mission Enhanced customary to higher maintain operations in non-permissive environments.
Speaking about help belongings, this 12 months’s planning confirms the intention of the Italian MoD to amass two new KC-46 tankers and improve the present KC-767s to the identical customary. Furthermore, the initiation of a strategic transport program is talked about, with out offering additional particulars.
The subsequent subject lined by the planning is the coaching. The ItAF will strengthen the Operational Coaching Infrastructure (OTI), specializing in a excessive integration between stay, digital and constructive actions, whereas persevering with to work with the T-345 and T-346 packages. The OTI program will develop a geo-federate, modular, resilient and safe open structure, connecting flight simulators, simulation programs and C2 programs to create a typical artificial atmosphere that may reproduce actual, advanced and extremely variable operational environments. An integral a part of this program is the modernization of the Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra (PISQ).
Necessary information are coming additionally for the helicopter coaching, with a new helicopter flight college being established in Viterbo, at present dwelling of the Military’s flight college. The brand new college will exploit the ItAF’s experience on this sector, with the goal of satisfying the requirement for a joint nationwide coaching centre for all helicopter pilots, in addition to satisfying the necessities for the equal civilian licenses and providing coaching to worldwide companions. The ItAF can be main the efforts for the brand new college on behalf of the armed forces and regulation enforcement companies.
The present plan is predicated round a coaching space, an operational space (with upkeep, storage and helicopter restoration features) and a logistic space. The college will make use of the brand new AW169 Mild Utility Helicopter to fulfill the necessities of the part 3b of the coaching, exploiting the gradual substitute of the six legacy helicopter fleets with the brand new helicopter. The part 3b coaching on the LUH will comply with the part 3a at present carried out on the TH-500 helicopter, offering a complicated coaching part between the preliminary 3a coaching and the helicopters assigned to the operational items.
The college may have a construction just like the one for the jet pilots at Lecce-Galatina Air Base. Actually, the mission is predicated round an Built-in Coaching System (ITS) which is able to embrace the LUH and the Floor Based mostly Coaching System (GBTS). The GBTS will likely be accountable for the bottom college, with an Tutorial Coaching System, Full Flight Simulators and Flight coaching Units, superior briefing and debriefing programs.
Clearly, the Military will proceed to work on the LUH program and, after a primary tranche of 17 helicopters accredited in 2019, a brand new tranche of 33 helicopters has been accredited. This new fight help helicopter, as we already reported, just isn’t the one new entry within the Italian Military. Actually, the works are continuing additionally on the new Leonardo AW249 NEES (Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta / New Exploration and Escort Helicopter), which is in the course of an intensive flight take a look at marketing campaign. The MoD expects to obtain as much as 48 assault helicopters, which is able to change the AH-129D at present in service.
Final however not least, the Italian MoD can be engaged on a Subsequent Era Quick Helicopter (NGFH)/ Subsequent Era Rotorcraft (NGRC). Contacts have been established with the U.S. Military for the Future Vertical Raise (FVL) program, with the Minister of Protection additionally visiting Bell’s amenities to see the V-280 Valor tilt-rotor and the B-360 Invictus reconnaissance helicopter.