The OTO-Melara Otomatic Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun failed to find market interest and was limited to a single prototype.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
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At one point in the 1980s the Italian concern of OTO-Melara attempted to sell the Army (and any interested foreign buyers) on the merits of a 76mm-armed Air Defence Tank (ADT) known as the "Otomatic". The system mated a rapid-firing autocannon with the chassis of the "Palmaria" Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) (detailed elsewhere on this site), retaining all of the mobility of the latter. However, interest on the part of the Army (and foreign parties) ultimately waned and only one prototype of the Otomatic was ever completed before project cancellation occurred.
The 76mm gun in question was derived from an existing OTO-Breda design and this was directed by an onboard Fire Control System (FCS) featuring radar and laser-range finding. The gun was cleared to fire both High-Explosive (HE) and Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) rounds. Beyond its effectiveness as a short-to-medium-range air defense system, the Otomatic could easily be trained against ground targets such as armored vehicles. There was an initial intent to make the Otomatic turret available as a stand-alone component - offering foreign customers the option to mount it atop any existing Main Battle Tank (MBT) hull.
Despite the initiative, this OTO-Melara venture fell short of expectations and the Italian Army joined other powers in looking elsewhere - leaving the Otomatic with no future home.
As finalized, the Otomatic was a 46 tonne vehicle with a length (hull only) of 23.9 feet, a width of 12.1 feet and a height of 10 feet. Its operating crew numbered four. The 76mm main gun carried seventy projectiles into battle. Power to the vehicle was from an MTU MB837 Ka-500 series diesel engine outputting 750 horsepower. The vehicle was suspended atop a torsion bar arrangement for cross-country travel. Operational ranges reached 310 miles with road speeds nearing 40 miles per hour. As the Otomatic was built atop the existing chassis of the Palmaria, which itself was born from the export-minded OF-40 Main Battle Tank (detailed elsewhere on this site), the Otomatic had a track-and-wheeled arrangement utilizing seven double-tired road wheels to a track side. The drive sprocket remained at rear with the track idler at front and four track return rollers were used.
Manufacturing OTO-Melara - Italy
Production 1 Units
Italy (not adopted)
- Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
- Support / Special Purpose |
23.95 ft (7.3 m)
12.14 ft (3.7 m)
10.07 ft (3.07 m)
51 tons (46,000 kg; 101,413 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the OTO-Melara Otomatic ADT (Air Defence Tank) production model)
1 x MTU MB837 Ka-500 V10 multi-fuel engine developing 750 horsepower.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the OTO-Melara Otomatic ADT (Air Defence Tank) production model)
40 mph (65 kph)
311 miles (500 km)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the OTO-Melara Otomatic ADT (Air Defence Tank) production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 76mm OTO-Breda autocannon
6 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers
Ammunition: 70 x 76mm projectiles
6 x Smoke Grenades
(Showcased armament details pertain to the OTO-Melara Otomatic ADT (Air Defence Tank) production model)
"Otomatic" ADT - Base Series Name; single prototype example completed.
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