Using the chassis and hull of the American M113 APC and the existing Oerlikon autocannon, the Italians were able to produce a cost-effective air-defense weapon in the late 1980s.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Italian Army.
Even into the 1980s the threat of open war in Europe against an invading Soviet force was very real. This prompted all major militaries of the region to continue to keep a noticeable presence as a natural deterrent. One of the largest threats to meet ground forces of the period would have been low-flying aircraft such as attack helicopters and this led to continued support for cost-effective, projectile-firing weapon systems for land forces.
When the Italian Army sought such a mobile, self-propelled weapons platform - and the OTO-Melara ADT failed to net much interest - it took a budget-conscious route and looked to the existing American M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) of which it already operated in some number - thousands were in service and continue to be fielded today (2016). To this was added a turret component developed by OTO-Breda which sat four 25mm Oerlikon autocannons in a 2x2 pattern, the guns straddling the turret section. All other functions of the M113 remained intact and power was provided by a Detroit Diesel 6V-53 diesel-fueled engine of 215 horsepower allowing for a maximum road speed of 42 miles per hour and an operational range out to 310 miles. Armor protection was 38mm at its thickest and the operating crew numbered three. A side-mounted door was added for better crew access and firing ports were available for close-in self-defense by the operators.
The turret was given a full 360-degree rotating over the hull roof of the vehicle. Targets were dealt with through an optronic-based Fire Control System (FCS) as well as a laser rangefinder for accurized fire at range. However, no radar system was fitted to the machine which meant that its tactical capability was limited largely to good-weather, daytime operation. 8,600 x 25mm projectiles were typically carried and these were of the High-Explosive variety. A further 300 x 25mm shells of an Armor-Piercing (AP) flavor were stored on the vehicle should its guns need to contend with approaching enemy armor (limited to soft-skinned threats). Beyond this, the vehicle was also outfitted with a 7.62mm M136 Minigun Gatling-style support-minded weapon with 10,500 x 7.62mm ammunition carried.
The SIDAM 25 has remained in limited service since its introduction in 1987 with a total of 276 units completed. While never exported the turret has been seated on other foreign vehicle types seen in Brazil and Spain. The SIDAM 25 has also yet to see combat deployment and service.
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