The Italian Army is seeking to modernize its long-range firepower after awarding two separate contracts to Italy’s Aris SRL and Leonardo UK to upgrade the FH70 155mm towed artillery and other systems in service.
With a total value of over €21.8 million ($23.8 million), the contracts were broken down into individual awards of €15.7 million to Leonardo UK and €6.1 million to Aris SRL. European countries are reassessing the role of artillery in the modern battlefield after the impact the capability has had on the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
Such was the use of artillery by the Ukraine that the Europeans and Kiev’s Western backers have depleted their own stockpiles of ammunition as the Ukrainian military goes through thousands of rounds each day, particularly in the 155mm caliber. In addition, European countries have donated significant amounts of artillery systems to aid it in its fight against Russia.
Spain recently announced its intention to replenish its own stockpile of 155mm ammunition, while European leaders have called for a pan-continental rearmament effort.
According to GlobalData, Italy has 160 FH70 155mm towed artillery howitzers, which were first delivered into service in 1978. The modernization effort is likely intended to replace worn parts and reduce obsolete platform issues with an operational platform for more than four decades.
Further GlobalData analysis shows that Italy’s defense budget has historically seen only limited growth or fluctuations due to political gridlock and a lack of consensus on the national defense budget.
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However, Italy’s budget saw modest growth in 2019-21, increasing by $5.7 billion from $26.1 billion to $31.8 billion. Despite a decline during the Covid-19 pandemic, the defense budget looks poised for a return to growth from 2024-28, with spending forecast to rise steadily from $31.6bn to $38.5bn.
Read the original at Defence247.gr