Ariete Main Battle Tank

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CMBT Mark I Ariete
ArieteMainBattleTankType3.png
The Type 3 variation of the Ariete as it is currently deployed.
Type Main Battle Tank
Place of origin  Cacerta
Service history
In service 1969 - Present
Used by CRAFlag.png Cacertian Royal Army
Wars Triple Continent Conflict
New Edomite Succession War
Nalayan Civil War
Production history
Designer Alenia Industrial
Designed 1967-1969
Manufacturer Alenia Industrial
Produced 1969 - Present
Number built 1,800
Variants See Variants
Specifications (CMBT Mark I Ariete Type 3)
Weight 42.5 Tonnes (46.8 Short Tons; 41.8 Long Tons)
Length 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in) (gun forward)
Width 3.50 m (11 ft 6 in)
Height 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in)
Crew 4 (Commander/Radio Operator, Gunner, Loader, Driver)

Armor Composite Armor; Classified
Main
armament
120mm RA Mark II Smoothbore Gun (66 Rounds)
Secondary
armament
1 x Vitali SMMG (7.62mm; Coaxial)
1 x Vitali MG50 (12.7mm; Commander’s Hatch)
Engine Alenia 10-Cylinder Multi-Fuel Engine
819 hp
Power/weight 19.3 hp/tonne
Transmission Alenia TMN Mark VIII
Suspension Torsion Bar
Fuel capacity 1,000 Liters Internal (264 US Gallons)
Operational
range
600 km (372 mi)
Speed 65 km/h (40 mph)

The CMBT Mark I Ariete (English: Aries) is a Cacertian main battle tank that was designed and produced by the Cacertian corporation Alenia Industrial and first entered service in 1969 as the nation’s first main battle tank in the aftermath of the Great War. The Ariete departed from the standard Royal Army focus on speed and instead was developed for use as an all-around combat vehicle. When introduced, the Ariete was characterized for having some of the best cross-country performance statistics in the region.

Development

The proposal for the Ariete project began in mid-1960s during the Kingdom’s post-war analysis of the Royal Army’s contemporary combat capabilities. Many of the tanks designed and produced during the Great War and in its aftermath were becoming rapidly outclassed and outdated by vehicles produced in nations such as Acrea, Shalum, and Azurlavai. The Cacertian Ministry of Defense released its requirements for a new generation tank on 14 March 1965 which detailed that the vehicle need to be lighter than 45 metric tons, capable of negotiating most terrain, and able to operate in a battlefield contaminated with advanced chemical weapons or radioactive fallout.

Two companies produced prototypes based on the requirements presented by the ministry of defense, Alenia Industrial and Gabrielli S.p.A. Both companies delivered their vehicles to Anzio in 1968. Crocetto had intentions to also produce it’s own prototype for the project, but instead declined—it was later discovered that Crocetto’s designers had been working separately on a main battle tank of their own design with Acrea Defence Industries.

After parallel testing of both the Alenia and Gabrielli designs at Anzio, Alenia’s improved prototype was selected for further development. The next year was spent working to finalize the vehicle's design which included several minor hull changes, improvements to the turret, and the addition of an optical range-finding system. The prototype passed final testing on 22 February 1969 and was given the designation CMBT Mark I Ariete; it was approved for production on 1 March 1969.

Production

The Ariete entered full-scale production in 1969 to assume the role of modern main battle tank and succeed all variations of medium tanks still in service in the post Great War period. Between 1969 and 1980, approximately 700 units had been delivered to the Royal Army before production shifted to the newer Ariete Type 2s which were introduced in 1980. An upgrade program was started before full-scale production of the Type 2s began. When the Type 3s debuted in Anzio in 1990, full-production of the Type 2s—which had been delayed by the upgrades—was cancelled. The upgrade program was later shifted to focus on upgrading older variants to the Type 3s which had entered full-scale production in 1991.

Several Arietes during exercises in Shalum, 12 February 1974.

Design

The Ariete weighed 42.5 metric tons when it first entered service and had a cast turret and rolled homogenous armor that ranged in thickness from 10mm (~0.4 in) to 80mm (~3.1 in). The armor type was later changed to composite with the introduction of the Ariete Type 3; the statistics and technical data of the Type 3’s composite armor is strictly classified. The Type 3 is also characterized for its welded, angular turret. All three variations of the Ariete are equipped with nuclear, biological, and chemical protections.

Unlike the medium tanks of the Great War era, the Ariete is operated by only four crew members: a commander, gunner, loader, and driver. The forward machine gunner and radio operator position was discarded with the introduction of more compact and better radio communication systems, as a result the commander assumed the responsibilities of extra-vehicular communication.

The Ariete was originally armed with the 105mm RA Mark VIII rifled gun which could successfully penetrate 300mm of RHA equivalent armor at 2500 meters using a KE penetrator with a 1,430 m/s velocity. The Ariete Type 2 and Type 3 would later adopt the 120mm RA Mark II smoothbore gun which possessed a significantly higher penetration potential at greater distances. In testing, the Mark II—firing an APFSDS round weighing 8.35 kg—could theoretically pierce 800mm of RHAe at a maximum range of 4,000 meters. The main secondary armament of the Ariete is a coaxial-mounted Vitali SMMG. A single Vitali MG50 could also be added to a mount just above the commander’s hatch.

Operational History

The Ariete has seen limited service being deployed with Cacertian expeditionary troops during the Triple Continent Conflict, New Edomite Succession War, and the Nalayan Civil War.

The Ariete as originally built in 1969.

Variants

CMBT Mark I Ariete

The original variation of the Ariete, possessing a rounded turret and the original 105mm RA Mark VIII rifled gun. As of 2016, the majority of the original Ariete variants have been retired or upgraded.

CMBT Mark I Ariete Type 2

The Ariete Type 2 is an upgraded variant of the original Ariete that was introduced in 1980. It’s primary improvement was the introduction of the120mm RA Mark II smoothbore gun and the ability to fire APFSDS rounds. Only 300 Type 2s had been produced and built before priority shifted to the Type 3.

CMBT Mark I Ariete Type 3

The Type 3, which entered production in 1990, is the most up to date variant of the Ariete. It featured significant technological improvements by providing the tank with newer composite armor, a modern fire control system, and a modified turret designed to store the new equipment and additional ammunition. The Type 3 is considered the standard variant of the Ariete currently in service.