The Italian military extends the service life of its Dardo IFV

The Dardo IFV is a tracked combat vehicle (ranpur) jointly developed by Italian company Oto Melara and IVECO under a program called VCC-80 as a replacement for the aging M-113.

The Italian military intends to extend the operational life of the 135 Dardo IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) to maintain its combat capability while waiting for the next generation IFV to enter service in 2026.

Parts that will be upgraded on the Dardo IFV combat vehicle are the replacement of the engine with a more powerful one, new optics and increased protective power capabilities.

Oto Melara is in charge of weapons and fire control systems, while IVECO is in charge of the hull and propulsion systems.

In May 2002, the first batch of 200 Dardo IFVs ordered, was formally handed over to the Italian Army at the La Spezia Oto Melara facility.

Subsequently this Dardo IFV was sent to the 8th Bersaglieri Regiment, part of the Garibaldi Brigade, Italian Army.

Specifications of Dardo IFV
The Dardo turret is armed with the main armament in the form of the Oerlikon Contraves 25 mm KBA cannon. The secondary weapon is a 7.62 mm MG 42/59 machine gun mounted coaxially.

At the front, the vehicle is protected against 25 mm APDS projectiles, and side shields protect against 14.5 mm API projectiles.

The Dardo IFV also carries Raytheon TOW ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) mounted on both sides of the turret. This missile can destroy targets at a maximum firing range of 3,750 m.

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As an IFV, the Dardo compartment can accommodate six infantrymen. Meanwhile, the crew consists of three people, namely the commander, gunner, and driver.

There are also four electrically operated 80mm smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret, firing forward.

As the driving force of this 25 tonne ranpur is the Iveco-Fiat 6V MTCA turbo diesel engine with 512 hp (382.2 kW). The maximum speed is 70 km/h and the operational range is 600 km.

The Dardo IFV which is only used by the Italian Military has been tested in war, namely when it was deployed by the Italian Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and deployed in Afghanistan to strengthen Italian Battlegroups there.***

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