An Italian army Dardo in the field.
Source: OTO Melara - © copyright lies with original owner
The Dardo is a mechanized infantry combat vehicle of Italian origin. It was developed in the early 1980's to supplement the M113 in Italian service. Only 200 Dardo's have been produced of the original requirement for 500 vehicles. Since the adoption of the Freccia infantry fighting vehicle it seems unlikely the production of the Dardo will resume.
The Dardo has a conventional layout with the engine and driver in the front of the hull. The two man turret is mounted in the middle and the crew compartment is at the rear. The 7 soldiers access the vehicle through the ramp with door in the rear. A variety of different versions were proposed but only the infantry fighting vehicle version was produced in quantity.
The main armament is the 25mm KBA autocannon. It has a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rpm and a total of 200 rounds are carried. A 7.62mm MG42/59 machine gun is fitted as a coaxial weapon. The prototype was fitted with a single TOW anti-tank missile on either side of the turret. The production vehicles do not have this capability but could be refitted if needed.
The Dardo features an aluminum hull with additional steel plates on top. This provides full protection from small arms fire and shell splinters and 14.5mm rounds over the frontal arc. An NBC system is fitted and two banks of four smoke grenade launchers are fitted. It is possible to fit an appliqué armor package which increases weight by 3 t. The appliqué armor increases protection to 25mm APDS rounds over the frontal arc.
The tracked chassis gives the Dardo good mobility on roads and cross country. The maximum speed is 70 km/h. An Iveco 520 hp turbo diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission provides propulsion.
The Italian army is the sole operator of the Dardo. A total of 200 vehicles have been delivered. There was a total requirement for 500 vehicles, but due to the end of the Cold War this number was reduced. A total of 6 vehicles have been deployed in Iraq and 10 vehicles have been shipped to Afghanistan in 2004.
Two Italian army Dardo during a training exercise.
Source: Italian Army - © copyright lies with original owner
The Dardo is a modern mechanized infantry combat vehicle. It is armed with a 25mm KBA autocannon. Several variants based on the same chassis have been proposed. These include an IFV version with TOW missiles on either side of the turret, an armored ambulance, command post and 120mm mortar carrier. Of these variants only a single vehicle was produced.
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