The C1 Ariete main battle tank is in service with the Italian Army
The C1 Ariete main battle tank has been developed by the Iveco Fiat Oto Melara Syndicated Company, formed by Iveco, Defence Vehicles Division and the Oto Melara Division of Finmeccanica. Iveco Fiat has carried out the development of the tank and Oto Melara the development of the turret and weapon systems.
C1 Ariete is in service with the Italian Army. The first tank was delivered in 1995 and final delivery of the 200 tanks ordered took place in August 2002. C1 Ariete was first deployed in Iraq in 2004.
The C1 Ariete can engage stationary and moving targets by day and by night, while the tank itself is stationary or on-the-move. The main gun is a 44 calibre 120mm auto-frettaged smoothbore gun manufactured by Oto Melara. The gun is fitted with a thermal sleeve, a fume-extraction system and a muzzle reference system. The gun is stabilised in two axes by hydraulic servoes and can fire all available types of ammunition including APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) and HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank) rounds. The tank carries 42 rounds of 120mm ammunition, the turret bustle accommodating 15 rounds of ammunition and 27 rounds being stored in the hull.
The Ariete is also armed with a 7.62mm Nato-standard machine gun mounted coaxially with the main gun and a 7.62mm air defence machine gun mounted on the turret roof and operated by the tank commander. The tank has the capacity to carry approximately 2,500 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
The turret and weapon elevation is controlled by an electro-hydraulic system with manual backup.
Electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers are mounted either side of the turret in the forward firing position. The tank is fitted with the RALM laser warning receiver produced by BAE Systems Italia. The RALM sensor head is mounted on the forward part of the turret and gives 360° coverage.
The hull and turret are of all welded steel construction with enhanced armour protection over the frontal arc. The crew is protected from nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare by an NBC protection system developed by Sekur SpA in Rome. The protection of the tank is also enhanced by using war and peace support ballistic add-on.
Fire control and observation
The tank’s fire control system is the TURMS FCS produced by Galileo Avionica (formerly Officine Galileo) of Firenze, Italy. It includes a day / night stabilised commander’s panoramic periscope sight, gunner’s stabilised sight with thermal imager, a self stabilised optical sight with IR camera and laser rangefinder, and a digital fire control computer. The digital fire control computer downloads data from the tank’s meteorological and wind sensors, together with the tank attitude, barrel wear characteristics, ammunition and target data. The computer calculates the fire control algorithms and is used to control the gun, the sighting systems and the laser rangefinder.
The commander’s station on the right of the turret is equipped with the panoramic stabilised sight and a television monitor displaying the thermal image from the gunner’s sight. The commander’s sight, mounted on the roof of the turret, has a 360° traverse and an elevation range from -10° to +60°.
The driver’s station on the right front of the hull is equipped with three periscopes, one of which has passive night vision capability.
The C1 Ariete is powered by a Fiat V-12 MTCA (modular turbo-charged aftercooler) turbo-charged, 12 cylinder, diesel engine developing 937kW (1,273hp). An improved version of the MTCA engine has been developed by Iveco and is expected to be fitted during revision of the existing tanks. The engine can produce 1,600hp at 1,800rpm. The automatic transmission system, licensed from the German company ZF, has four forward and two reverse gears, and incorporates the steering system and hydraulic retarder. The final drives are epicyclic.
The running gear consists of seven dual rubber-lined road wheels, plus four return rollers on each side with connector type tracks. The double pin track was designed by the German company Diehl. The suspension system consists of a torsion bar and hydraulic bumper on each suspension arm.
The C1 Ariete is capable of a maximum speed in excess of 65km/h and the maximum gradient is 60%. The fording depth is 4m with preparation and 1.25m without preparation.