Allison Transmissions equips 36 VBA amphibious combat vehicles for the Italian Navy

Allison Transmission will outfit the next generation of amphibious armored vehicles (VBA) for IDV's San Marco maritime brigade with Allison Specialty Series transmissions. The Land Armament Directorate with Iveco Defence Vehicles (IDV), a brand of Iveco N.V. (IGV) specializing in defense and civil protection vehicles, will supply the Italian Navy with 36 VBAs equipped with Allison transmissions.
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The latest-generation Iveco Defence 8x8 vehicles equipped with fully automatic Allison transmissions are intended for the Brigata Marina San Marco (BMSM) fleet (Picture source: IDV)

These sophisticated amphibious vehicles will rely on fully automatic Allison transmissions. The collaboration between Allison and IDV has already produced technologically advanced vehicles for the U.S. Marine Corps, which has ordered more than 200 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) since 2018. These 8x8 ACVs can carry up to 13 Marines. The new IDV VBA is based on the SUPERAV 8x8 amphibious platform developed for the ACV in collaboration with BAE Systems.

Details about the VBA

The VBA is an 8x8 all-terrain vehicle capable of being launched and recovered from an amphibious ship at sea, offering excellent mobility and high ballistic protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Allison has assisted IDV in the complex integration to support operations on both land and water. The 700hp FPT Cursor 16 engine, paired with the Allison 4800 SPTM 7-speed automatic transmission and the H-shaped driveline derived from the Centauro and VBM Freccia, allows the VBA to achieve a speed of 105 km/h on land, while two hydraulic propellers mounted at the rear provide navigation above sea level 3 at a speed of 6 knots.

"Defense vehicles are often equipped with an Allison automatic transmission because only it allows for gear changes without the necessary torque interruption required to move such a heavy vehicle in challenging off-road conditions, such as sand or mud, where its weight would prevent manual gear shifting," said Simone Pace, account manager for manufacturers and regional sales manager at Allison Transmission Italy. "The 7-speed Allison transmission enables exceptional mobility on both land and water by simultaneously transmitting torque to the VBA's 8 wheels and the propeller, which operate in parallel."

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Allison 4800 SPTM 7-speed automatic transmission (Picture source: Allison)

Capabilities in extreme conditions

IDV's VBA is designed to operate in extreme conditions. These vehicles offer superior off-road capability, allowing for slopes up to 60% downhill or uphill, can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from Arctic cold to desert heat, and are capable of water mobility. Reliability, durability, and scalability are essential attributes as each vehicle must be adaptable to different systems based on specific mission requirements. The Allison automatic transmission plays a significant role in power transfer to the wheels, enhancing maneuverability and providing over-rev protection and backup functionality when necessary.

Allison's relationship with the U.S. government has spanned over a century, evolving from providing aircraft engines in the 1920s to supplying fully automatic transmissions for specialized wheeled and tracked vehicles.

Allison Specialty Series transmissions are dedicated to defense and heavy transport applications, offering maximum reliability and durability. The fully automatic Allison transmission is well-suited to defense vehicles as it allows drivers to focus solely on the mission. By making driving physically less taxing, Allison transmissions enable focus on the actual task at hand. Additionally, ease of use neutralizes driver inexperience and significantly reduces training time.

Moreover, Allison transmissions deliver excellent performance and provide greater acceleration through Continuous Power Technology, enabling continuous power transmission from the engine to the wheels. Gear changes also result in smoother driving, precise traction control, and improved maneuverability, even on difficult or rough terrain and at low speeds.

Defense News October 2023