C1 Ariete main battle tank is considered the most modern Italian-made tank ever.
Similar to Russia, Germany or France, Italy is also one of the few European countries to develop and manufacture main battle tanks with many special features, which is the C1 Ariete main battle tank. Produced between 1995 and 2002, by two well-known Italian firms, Iveco and Fiat, the C1 Ariete main battle tank is considered the most modern Italian-made tank ever.
C1 Ariete is considered a tank with extremely strong firepower and good defense. Ariete was born under the expectation of replacing the obsolete M60A1s of Italy in the 1980s. In all, about 200 C1 Ariete tanks were built. The name of the tank, Ariete, in honor of Italy’s famous World War II armored division, fought alongside the Afrika Korps from 1941 to 1943.
Ariete is quite similar to the traditional main battle tanks, with the driver’s cabin arranged in the left front, the remaining members in the middle compartment and the engine arranged at the rear. Compared to most Western MBTs, the hull of the Italian tank is a bit smaller. The total weight is 54 tons, a length of 9.52m, a width of 3.61m and a height of 2.45m. The tank will need a crew of 4.
The hull frontal glacis is well sloped, but the sides are flat, with a raised rear engine deck, starting after the turret ring. The powertrain consists of idlers at the front, adjustable drive sprockets at the rear. There are seven paired roadwheels that are hung by a torsion bar with suspension arms. There are also a hydraulic damping system, friction dampers and four return rollers on each side. The fenders with headlamps protected above and armored side skirts are made of six separate panels.
The C1 Ariete tank is equipped with a steel and composite blend armor similar to the British Challenger 2 and American M1 Abrams. On each side of the turret is a GALIX grenade launcher to hide the tank in front of enemy’s thermal, optical and radar observation devices. Besides, the crew is fully protected from biochemical agents.
The heart of this steel monster is a 25.8 liter Fiat-Iveco MTCA V12 turbocharged engine with a capacity of 1,250 horsepower. The maximum speed on the asphalt reaches 65 km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 32 km/h in 6 seconds. The tank has a range of 600 km. Currently, the C1 Ariete tank has a modernized version with a new engine of 30 liters, capacity of 1,600 horsepower. The tank also has a new armor developed by Oto Melara, this prototype was first shown at the Eurosatory 2002 weapons exhibition.
The main armament of the C1 Ariete is a 120 mm el 44 smoothbore gun manufactured by Oto Breda, which has an electro-hydraulic stabilization system. The gun barrel has a thermal insulating sleeve and a fume extractor that allows it to fire modern APFSDS-T and HEAT rounds as well as all 120 mm NATO-standard rounds. Secondary armament consists of a 7.62 mm MG 42/59 coaxial machine gun controlled by the gunner or commander. Another 7.62 mm MG machine gun is located on the roof of the turret to take over air defense function.