IVECO and OTO-Melara are stalwarts in the modern Italian defense industry. It comes as no surprise that the two teamed to produce the effective "Freccia" Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Growing in popularity, wheeled armored fighting vehicles are ebbing the dominance of tracked military vehicles with each passing year - changing the face of future battlefields in the process. The Freccia design was made ready in 2006 - based in the earlier "Centauro" 8x8 wheeled tank hunter (detailed elsewhere on this site) - and the Italian Army committed to 253 of the type to succeed the aging line of Cold War-era VCC-2 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) then in service. The VCC-2 was a localized variant of the long-running, tracked American M113 APC.
As it standard, the Freccia is a 28 tonne vehicle with an overall length of 7.6 meters, a beam measuring 2.9 meters and a height of 3 meters. It is crewed by three personnel, made up of a driver, vehicle commander and dedicated gunner, and has seating for an additional eight-to-ten passengers in the rear of the hull. Armor protection is of welded steel with ceramic plates added for reinforcement of particular sections. Power is from an in-house IVECO 5HP-1500 V6 diesel-fueled unit of 560 horsepower driving an 8x8 wheeled arrangement out to speeds of 105 kmh and range of up to 1,000 kilometers. The hydropneumatic suspension system, coupled with the vehicle's excellent ground clearance, allows the Freccia to go cross-country and traverse certain water sources, gradients and obstacles. IVECO supplies the engine, suspension and hull components.
Primary armament is a turreted (known as "HitFist Plus") 25mm OTO-Melara (Oerlikon) KBA autocannon fitted alongside a 7.62mm (coaxial) machine gun mounting. An optional 7.62mm machine gun can be fitted to the top of the turret to act as an anti-aircraft weapon. 8 x Smoke dischargers are carried to provide a self-screening capability as needed. The main gun is afforded 200 projectiles and the machine guns have access to 4,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
Access hatches are provided at the hull roof line and at the turret (2x). At the rear hull facing is a powered single-piece entry-exit door/ramp. The driver is seated at front-left in the hull with the powerpack to his right (the grille is identified along the right hull facing). This allows the rear of the hull to be dedicated to carrying infantry elements. The passengers are seated in two banks of five seats along each hull side wall with the teams facing one another.
Survivability features include a reinforced under-hull, well-sloped glacis plate over the bow and run-flat tires.
Beyond the base infantry support model there is an ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) missile carrier, field ambulance, reconnaissance vehicle, Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARC), mortar carrier (120mm TDA-2R2M type) and Command Post (CP) vehicle.
The Italian Army currently assigns its Freccia stock to two Mechanized Brigades ("Aosta" and "Pinerolo"). To date (December 2017) the product has not been exported.