CIO Ariete Main Battle Tank (MBT)
The CIO Ariete Main Battle Tank is on par with other Western offerings and has seen production reach 200 examples for the Italian Army.
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In 1984, the Italian concerns of OTO Melara and Iveco-FIAT came together to form CIO - "Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara". The goal of the parties was to develop three different modern battlefield systems sharing the maximum amount of automotive components to reduce cost and logistical support for the Italian Army in the long term. The result became the Dardo Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Centauro 8x8 wheeled tank destroyer and the Ariete ("Battering Ram") Main Battle Tank. Sharing duties, OTO Melara served as the prime contractor overseeing design and engineering while supplying various components and Iveco-FIAT was charged with developing and manufacturing the required powerpack and related systems.
The Ariete became a 60-ton vehicle fitted with a 1,275 horsepower V12 MTCA turbocharged diesel-fueled engine (coupled to an automatic transmission) sitting atop a torsion bar suspension system. Overall configuration of the MBT was standard with a four-man crew, the 120mm L44 smoothbore tank gun in a 360-degree traversing turret and the engine/transmission fitted to the rear. The track system was partially covered in side skirt armor and incorporated seven double-tired road wheels, a rear drive sprocket and a front-mounted track idler. The driver sat at the front-right of the hull with the commander, gunner and loader in the well-sloped turret. Self-defense was through 2 x 7.62mm machine guns - one fitted coaxially and the other along the turret roof for anti-aircraft defense. Performance indicated a road speed of 40 miles per hour with an operational range of 342 miles. 40 x 120mm projectiles were carried aboard for the main gun as was 2,400 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition for the machine guns.