The IVECO AutoCarro Tattico Logistico or ACTL (English: Tactical Logistics Truck) is a whole range of logistic and special purpose trucks specifically developed at the request of the Esercito Italiano (English: Italian Army) in the 1990s.
The ACTL family was intended to substitute all Italian logistic vehicles deployed during the Cold War and, thanks to their effectiveness and NATO standardization, thousands were bought by various other nations, mainly in Europe. They are produced in a total of three different main variants, with two, three, and four axles, with many sub-variants and sub-versions produced.
The Italian Companies that Produced the ACTLs
The vehicles were developed by IVECO DV (Industrial VEhicles COrporation Defence Vehicles), which is part of the IVECO Group. It includes various Italian and European brands, such as the German Magirus-Deutz, the Spanish Pegaso, and the French Unic and Heuliez Bus SAS. The Italian FIAT Veicoli Industriali (English: FIAT Industrial Vehicles), Officine Meccaniche or OM (English: Mechanical Workshops), Lancia Veicoli Speciali (English: Lancia Special Vehicles), IVECO BUS, and Anonima Sarda Trasporto e Recupero Automezzi, or more commonly ASTRA (English: Anonymous Sardinian Transport and Vehicle Recovery), are all a part of this large conglomerate.
All the vehicles of the ACTL family were developed by the IVECO Group. The ones for the Italian Army were built by the ASTRA production plant in Piacenza, Italy. For this reason, they have two different nomenclatures. In Italy they are commonly known as ASTRA ACTL, partly because the company’s logo is placed over the radiator grille, while for the international market, they are presented under the IVECO brand and sold with the company’s logo. These are produced at the IVECO plant of Bolzano.
This choice is made by IVECO to take advantage of its popularity around the world, as many civilian and military customers already know the Italian brands for its qualities. Because of this they are shown at military expos and exhibitions around the world under the IVECO trucks logo instead of the less known ASTRA brand.
The Spanish Army trucks are produced by Pegaso and the French Army ones by IVECO and Soframe.
History of the Project
After the Italian participation in the Gulf War and in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans in 1999s one thing was clear to the Italian Army. The standard Italian logistic truck, the IVECO ACM 80/90, was no longer enough to service new military hardware, such as self-propelled guns and MLRS, which fired high numbers of rounds in short periods. The ACM had a weight of 4,700 kg and a payload capacity of 4,000 kg.
In response, the Italian Army created a list of requirements for a new vehicle:
- loading capacity doubled compared to the ACM 80/90
- hauling capacity doubled compared to the ACM 80/90
- transport capacity at least doubled compared to ACM 80/90
- a common frame to use spare parts in common
- reduced fuel consumption on road transfers and increased overall efficiency
- standardized with NATO equipment.
IVECO proposed the ASTRA HD6 and HD9 (HD for Heavy Duty) 6×6 and 8×8 trucks. These were judged positively by the Esercito Italiano and the development of a military family starting from the ASTRA trucks was initiated by the IVECO Group.
At the tine of publication of this article, the IVECO ACTL is available to the Italian and international market in three different series:
- Standard Militare – Military Standard: the most produced series, developed from the Italian Army requests. It comprises dozens of versions. Various hundreds have been produced and sold around Europe.
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.30 BAD, basic with loading platform
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.30 CAD (sometimes referred as PLE)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 BAD, with loading platform
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 CAD
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 CAT aeronautical fuel carrier and filler (7,500 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 AAT water carrier (8,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 telescopic aerial work platform
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 AAT fuel carrier (8,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 mobile work platform
- ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 AAT dump truck
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 BAD fuel carrier (8,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 BAD water carrier (8,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 CAD container transporter
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 CAD artillery tractor
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 CAD aeronautical fuel carrier and filler (8,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.45 AMT dump truck
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.45 BMT concrete mixer with pump
- ASTRA ACTL SM 66.45 BIT prime mover
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.42 BAT with Isoli M200 crane
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.42 BAT with Isoli M120C crane
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.42 BAT container transporter
- ASTRA ACTL SM 84.45 BAT container transporter
- ASTRA ACTL SM 84.45 BAT aeronautical fuel carrier and filler (18,000 liters)
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BAT with Isoli M200 crane
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BAD container transporter
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BAD SAMP-T SAM transport erector launcher
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BID container transporter
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BID single hook loader
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BIT with TCM C 300M crane
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BIT with TCM C 400M crane
- ASTRA ACTL SM 88.50 TIM Tank Transporter
Standard Militare ‘Heavy’ – Military Standard Heavy: designed to transport heavier loads, developed from the battle-proven SM series. This version is mainly intended for engineering and as tank transporters and only a few models entered service with the Italian Army.
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 44.30 BAD dump truck
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 44.31
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 66.40 BAD fuel tanker
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 66.45 BAT with TCM C 300M crane
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 66.45 BAT with TCM C 400M crane
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 66.45 AAT dump truck
- ASTRA ACTL SMH 88.45 APS – single hook loader
HD6 – Heavy Duty 6: 3rd series produced with ASTRA civilian cab. This version is designed for use in urban environments for specific operations where the use of vehicles with a strong military appearance would not be well perceived by the population.
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.45 dump truck
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.45 ASPIDE SAM transport erector launcher
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.52 prime mover
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.45 with Isoli M120 crane
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.45 TIM prime mover
- ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.52 prime mover
The ASTRA-type nomenclature can be understood as follows:
|ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 BAD
|AutoCarro Tattico Logistico
|Series: ASTRA ACTL xx 44.31 BAD
|Sometimes also named as SMR
|Standard Militare ‘Heavy’
|Refers to the civilian cab
|Drive configuration: ASTRA ACTL SM xx.31 BAD
|Engine output divided per 10: ASTRA ACTL SM 44.xx BAD
|Wheelbase: ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 xAD
|Transmission: ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 BxD
|For prime movers
|Brakes: ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 BAx
The IVECO export nomenclature is easier to follow, with the two axle variants of the ACTL known as the IVECO M170WM, the three axle variant known as IVECO M250WM, and the four axle variant known as IVECO M320WM. To show their power output, the IVECO nomenclature maintains the power output in horsepower divided by 10, such as the IVECO M170.30WM, IVECO M250.40WM, and IVECO M320.45WM to name just a few. The ASTRA ACTL SM 88.50 TIM Tank Transporter is the only one with a different designation type, IVECO M1100.50.
Due to the double nomenclature, the simpler and clearer IVECO nomenclature will be used in this article. The ASTRA nomenclature will be used in the captions if the exact model is specified by the original source.
The common design of the ACTL (66% of parts are shared by the whole range) allows the description of the characteristics of the vehicles, such as frame, cabs and some configurations, which are common in all the series.
Starting from the front of the vehicle, the cab is a classic European-style cab-over with three seats, of which the left one is for the driver. Comfort reaches very high levels compared to other military vehicles, as the interiors are identical to the civilian cabs of the IVECO/ASTRA family of heavy trucks. The crew members have enough space to place all their equipment (personal weapons, backpacks, etc).
On request, the vehicles can be equipped with longer cabs. This permits two types of customization: the addition of a second row of seats or the addition of a sleeping berth for the driver.
The protection on the standard military cab is NATO AEP-55 STANAG 4569, even if the exact level is not reported by official documentation. It consists of a bulletproof windshield, light armor plates that protect the cab from objects (such as stones) being thrown at it, small arms fire, anti-personnel mines, and light IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) explosions. This maintains a high degree of protection while operating in asymmetric warfare conditions, in which IEDs and ambushes are widely used by terrorist forces against unarmored logistic vehicles.
Apart from physical protection, the cab is also equipped with an NBC (Nuclear, Bacteriological, and Chemical) system with which the truck can also operate in contaminated areas, protecting the crew.
All the cabs have a hatch on the center of the roof. It is mainly used to check the ground from a higher position or to escape in case of the vehicle overturning. At the request of the customer, it can be equipped with a rail and support for a machine gun.
Despite the fact that the standard cabs are already protected from small arms fire and light IEDs, the protection can be enhanced with the application of armor kits made of kevlar. The armored kit, which weighs 2 tonnes, increases the resistance of the cab and survivability of the crew against small arms, IEDs, and grenade splinters. Like for the standard cabs, no data on the precise STANAG 4569 level are made public by IVECO DV.
To transport the vehicle on railways or for aerial transport, the vehicles can be equipped with a lower profile cab or, the height can be decreased by operating the Central Tires Inflation System (CTIS) on the vehicles equipped with such a system. The IVECO M170 can be loaded on Lockheed C-130 ‘Hercules’ cargo planes, while the other trucks of the IVECO ACTL family can be loaded on Airbus A400M ‘Atlas’.
The first axle (and second axle on the 4 axle trucks) has spring suspension integrated with hydraulic shock absorbers, including a stabilizer bar. The rear one or two axles have tilting spring suspension on a central pivot, supplemented by six longitudinal reaction bars. This type of suspension assures traction of all the wheels even while driving on rough terrains, permitting the trucks to overcome more obstacles than other suspension types without reaction bars.
Pressure in the wheels is maintained by a compressor with manual adjustment. The CTIS can be mounted at the request of the customer.
Apart from the CTIS, armored cab or lower cab, the customer can ask for many other types of additions, such as: sel-helping winches built by TREIBMATIC with a power of about 9,000 kg (90 kN), run flat tires, traction control system, protected gunner position, a preset for communication systems (radios installed by the customer according to his needs), an electromagnetic compatibility system of MIL level and, as the IVECO DV claims on its official website, “many other options are also available”.
Specific models can be provided with bodyworks with specific superstructure solutions. These can increase the capabilities of the whole range of vehicles of the ACTL series, obviously increasing the cost and weights depending on variants.
All the vehicles of the IVECO ACTL family are equipped with a pre-heater to help start the engine, even in frigid temperatures of -32°. If the pre-heating system is unserviceable, the engine is limited to be started at temperatures of -10°.
The electrical system is 24 V, with two 150 Ah batteries in series or four 110 Ah batteries in series-parallel and a 24V-35A alternator. The system is equipped with a radio interference suppression device.
The IVECO ACTL trucks can ford deep rivers up to 850 mm without preparation and up to 1,200 mm with a snorkeling kit.
Main Versions of the ACTL Family
The IVECO M170WM is the lightest version of the ACTL series. It is powered by a diesel IVECO Cursor 8 E3 6-cylinder inline 4-valve-per-cylinder, turbocharged engine with a volume of 7,800 cm³, developing 310 hp at 2,400 rpm, and maximum torque 1,100 Nm at 1,900 rpm. The Cursor has a total weight of 680 kg and, despite its power, respects European law on engine emissions level 3 (EURO 3).
It can be substituted with a slightly more powerful model of the Cursor 8 E5, giving out 330 hp. In both models, the maximum speed is about 90 km/h fully loaded, with a maximum range of 1,200 km.
Both the engines are coupled with the ZF 5HP502 automatic gearbox produced by the ZF Friedrichshafen AG company. To transfer the power from the gearbox to the rear axle, a IVECO TC 1800 transfer box is used. The vehicle is equipped with brake disks on both front and rear wheels and is equipped with ABS. The tire size is 14.00R20, with a single wheel on the front axle and twin wheels on the rear.
On the request of the customer, the gearbox can be substituted with the ZF 12 AS 2330 TO that can work both in semi-automatic and automatic modes.
The M170, with a total weight of 10 tonnes, has a payload capacity of 7 tonnes, and a towing capacity of 20 tonnes. This means that the Gross Combined Weight or GCW (truck + trailer + cargo) is 37 tonnes.
Using the ASTRA nomenclature, the vehicles of the SMH series, thanks to their heavier frame, have a payload capacity of 9.5 tonnes and a towing capacity of 29 tonnes. Obviously, with armored cabs, the payload capacity is reduced, on both SM and SMH models, by about 2 tonnes.
This is the medium truck of the ACTL series with three all-drive axles. The M250, in addition to maintaining 66% common parts with the other vehicles of the series, also has some parts in common with the IVECO TRAKKER heavy duty truck developed for the civilian market but also deployed by many armies.
The M250 can be equipped with three different types of the IVECO Cursor C10 engines depending on the needs:
- The IVECO Cursor C10 of the M250 is a 6-cylinder in-line, 4-stroke, 4-valve-per-cylinder, turbocharged engine with a volume of 10,308 cm³.
- The Cursor C10-400 develops 400 hp at 1,600 rpm and a maximum torque of 1,900 Nm at 1,480 rpm.
- The Cursor C10-420 develops 420 hp at 1,570 rpm and a maximum torque of 1,900 Nm at 1,600 rpm.
- The last Cursor, the C10-450, develops 450 hp at 1,570 rpm, with maximum torque 2,100 Nm at 1,050 rpm.
For all the variants, the maximum speed is about 90 km/h fully loaded, while the maximum range is about 1,200 km.
The engine, no matter which exact model, is coupled with a ZF 6HP902 automatic gearbox, while the transfer box to the rear axles is an IVECO TC 2200.
At the request of the customer, the vehicle can be equipped with a ZF 16 AS 2601 OD that can work both in semi-automatic and automatic modes.
The brakes, coupled with ABS, are commonly discs, but certain specific versions (dump truck and prime mover, for example) have drum brakes installed.
The curb weight of the M250 is 13 tonnes (15 tonnes with armored cab). The maximum payload capacity is 12 tonnes, while the maximum Gross Combined Weight is about 45 tonnes.
As with the IVECO M170, the Standard Militare ‘Heavy’ version with a more robust chassis can transport cargo with a maximum weight of 13 tonnes but a maximum load of 45 tonnes, for a total GCW of 71 tonnes.
The most peculiar version of the M250 is the artillery tractor, better known with the ASTRA nomenclature of ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 CAD.
Behind the usual three-seat cab (for the driver, commander, and an artillery crew member), it is equipped with a secondary cab with side doors and windows. It is used to comfortably transport six more artillery crew members.
Behind the secondary cab, the vehicle is equipped with a cargo bay that is smaller compared to standard M250 ones. The lower part of the cargo bay has 155 mm round racks for 16 rounds plus their separated charges.
This is the heavy truck version of the ACTL series with four axles. It is produced in two main versions: four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
As with the M250, it can be powered by two types of IVECO Cursor C10: the C10-420 and the C10-450, with the same power output characteristics as on the lighter chassis.
The gearbox is an automatic ZF 6HP 902. On the 8×8 version, the transfer box for the rear axles is an IVECO TC 2200, as on the M250.
At the request of the customer, the gearbox can be substituted by a ZF 16 AS 2601 OD that can work both in semi-automatic and automatic modes or by an automatic ZF 16AS2631.
The weight of the vehicle is 12.85 tonnes (15 with the armored cab). Its total weight (truck + cargo) is 32 tonnes, meaning that the maximum onboard cargo is about 19 tonnes. The truck can also tow 24 tonnes for a GCW of 56 tonnes.
In the SMH version, it can carry heavier cargo (even if the total payload capacity is not specified) and tow a total weight of 45 tonnes, reaching a GCW of about 80 tonnes.
This is not a lot compared to the M250 payload and towing capacities, but the M320 was developed mainly for specialized versions, such as a crane transporter, container transporter and, Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) for Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs). A TEL is a truck (or a tracked vehicle) that can carry, elevate to fire position, and launch one or more rocket propelled weapons (SAMs, tactical ballistic missiles, ICBMs, etc).
The Peculiar ACTL HD6 Versions
The ASTRA ACTL HD6 version has, for now, only been sold to the Italian Army (and for this reason seems to not have received an IVECO nomenclature), maintains all the other characteristics, but increasing the number of powerpack solutions and features from the standard ASTRA cab installed on civilian trucks.
This version was made for two main reasons. First of all, a truck equipped with a civilian cab costs less than a truck equipped with a military cab. Secondly, the vehicles are intended to be deployed in the Italian mainland in which, for example, the bulletproof windshield is not needed. When deployed in peacekeeping missions, the ASTRA ACTL HD6 can be preferred due its more civilian-style resemblance. In fact, on some occasions, a strong military appearance would not be well perceived by the civilian population of the region in which the peacekeeping missions are undertaken.
IVECO M1100.50 Tank Transporter
When the C1 Ariete Main Battle Tank (MBT) entered service with the Regio Esercito between March 1998 and August 2002, the army was not equipped with a vehicle to transport it.
The older FIAT-IVECO 320.45 WTM (that had nothing in common with the M320) three axle tank transporter could tow the standard Leopard 1A1, 1A2, and 1A5 of the Italian Army (with weights ranging from 40 to 42.2 tonnes) and the 47.7 tonnes of the M60A1 Patton, but was overloaded with the 54 tonnes of the C1 Ariete.
A new tank transporter was needed and the heavier truck of the IVECO ACTL family was taken and modified for this role.
The 8×8 IVECO chassis was modified into a prime mover. It was equipped with a diesel IVECO Cursor C13 6-cylinder in line, 4-stroke, 4-valve-per-cylinder, turbocharged engine with a volume of 12,900 cm³, developing 500 hp at 2,000 rpm, maximum torque 1,850 Nm at 900 rpm. As with the M320, the engine is coupled by a ZF 6 HP902 automatic gearbox and the usual IVECO TC 1800 transfer box.
The final vehicle, weighing 19 tonnes, still has many components in common with the other ACTL vehicles but an extreme towing capacity. As a semi-trailer, the Italian Army bought the license for the French LOHR SMC 64-6.3 DI with a capacity of 64 tonnes, but seems that the version produced in Italy has received some upgrades permitting it to reach a capacity of over 70 tonnes of cargo.
The Gross Combined Weight permitted by law is 110 tonnes but, in cases of emergency or oversize load, the truck total load can reach 130 tonnes. This is a perfect example of the robustness of the Italian version of the LOHR, that can be loaded with a payload of 92 tonnes.
This heavier vehicle still has a maximum speed on-road of 80 km/h even while towing some types of vehicles. When reaching a total weight of 110 tonnes, the speed is reduced to 60 km/h to avoid overstressing of the chassis. At a maximum payload of 130 tonnes, the speed is reduced to 40 km/h.
Towing a LOHR semi-trailer loaded with a C1 Ariete, the GCW is 92 tonnes. In other words, the tank transporter loaded with the Italian main battle tank can reach maximum speeds of 80 km/h.
The IVECO M1100.50 were produced in 2003 and entered service in the Italian Army starting from 2004. Due to IVECO’s policy of not revealing information about the number of vehicles produced and sold to the customers, the exact number of IVECO M1100.50 produced and delivered to the Italian Army is unknown.
IVECO M1250.70 T WM
With the introduction in the past decades of modern main battle tanks with composite armor, add-on kits, and other features, their total weight has further increased.
The M1 Abrams, which weighed 54 tonnes in its first variant, can now weigh 66.4 to 68.8 tonnes in the M1A2 SEPv2 and M1A2 SEPv3 versions, respectively. The Leopard 2 reached 66.5 tonnes in the 2A7V variants.
In June 2016, on the occasion of the Eurosatory 2016 exhibition in Paris, IVECO DV proposed to the international market the new IVECO M1250.70 T WM tank transporter.
The new IVECO behemoth is only slightly heavier than its predecessor, 19.6 tonnes with standard cab and 22 tonnes with the armored cab.
The new vehicle is powered by the most powerful engine of the Cursor series, the diesel IVECO Cursor 16 In-line 6-cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder, turbocharged engine with liquid cooling.
Its maximum power output is 580 hp at 2,100 rpm with a maximum torque of 2,990 Nm at 1,500 rpm. The gearbox for this truck is an automated ZF TC-Tronic 12TC3041 WO plus intarder with 12 gears + 2 reverse gears. The transfer box is a ZF Steyr VG2700 equipped with neutral position. On request, the gearbox can be substituted with a fully automatic Allison HD 4700 equipped with retarder.
Another possible request is a new cab interior layout with a fourth seat. The IVECO M1250 is equipped with ABS and drum brakes on all the four axles. On the cab rear, near the engine cooling system, there are two Rotzler HZ200 winches with a combined capacity of towing up to 50 tonnes (250 kN each).
This new powerful vehicle can reach a Gross Combined Weight (GCW) permitted by law of 125 tonnes, being capable of towing all MBTs currently in service with all the armies in the world without problems. Nevertheless, in case of emergency or oversize load, it can tow up to 150 tonnes. This makes the IVECO M1250 the most powerful tank transporter in the world at the moment, outclassing the US M1300 and German MAN HX81 tank transporters. Thanks to its robustness, it can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h with a GCW of 125 tonnes.
Even if it seems that not even a single order was placed for the truck by Italy in 2016, it is possible to assume that, in the near future, the Esercito Italiano will order a small number of M1250s for the Leopard 2A8s that it will purchase in 2025. In fact, the new version of the Leopard, of which the Italian Army has placed an order for 250 examples, weighs 67 tonnes, 13 more than the C1 Ariete.
Being presented for the international market, the IVECO M1250.70 T WM tank transporter has not yet received an ASTRA nomenclature.
|Comparison Between Tank Transporters
|Curb weight (tonnes)
|Engine output (hp)
|Maximum speed (km/h)
|Renault TRM 700-100
|IVECO 320.45 WTM
|IVECO M1250.70 T WM
Models on the IVECO/ASTRA Chassis
Complesso Autoscarrabile APS 95
The Complesso Autoscarrabile APS 95 (English: Multi Lifting Complex APS 95) is probably the most famous version of the IVECO ACTL family. In Italian, autoscarrabile designates a truck that can lift a container or a loading bay autonomously without the use of a crane. This system guarantees the autonomy of loading and unloading cargo without the help of other specialized vehicles, such as cranes, and without modifying the layout of the truck by adding a crane on it.
These systems, introduced by various armies starting from the 1980s, are currently in service with the majority of the NATO armies. This is thanks to the ISO (International Standardization Organization) that standardized the container and loading bay dimensions to 6.10 x 2.40 m and weights between 14 to 16 tonnes.
The Italian multi-lifting complex is the MULTILIFT Mark IV developed by the British company CARGOTEC and produced under license in Italy by the company Isoli SPA.
This type of lifter can lift a variety of loads including containers, flat loading platforms, and standard cargo bay platforms. This allows a single ACTL to transport containers loaded of ammunition, spare parts or other equipment, light vehicles such as the VBL Puma APC or IVECO VTLM ‘Lince’, or be used as a standard cargo truck, increasing versatility on the battlefield. It is also easy to be used by the truck driver by means of a joystick to lift or unload the cargo. The control panel is placed both in the cab, on the right of the driver and externally. This makes the system easy to be operated by its crews and speeds up the operations.
The Italian Army also developed special containers (such as surgery and command post) that are loadable by the MULTILIFT Mark IV.
The modularity of the MULTILIFT Mark IV system added to the off-road capabilities of the IVECO vehicle ensure that the complex has excellent maneuverability, being able to reach areas of the battlefield that are difficult or nearly impossible for other logistics vehicles to reach, autonomously release cargo, and retreat in a very short time, increasing the safety of the vehicle even at a very short distance from the frontline.
This is impossible for logistics vehicles that require cranes to unload cargo. With the flat loading bay, the vehicle is useful for recovering damaged vehicles with a maximum weight of 16 tonnes and quickly retreating to field workshops in the rear lines.
ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BAD SAMP-T SAM TEL
The SAMP-T missile began development in1989 as a joint Italian and French program. In French, SAMP-T stands for Sol-Air Moyenne-Portée – Terrestre (English: Ground-Air Medium-Range – Ground). The missiles are both surface-to-air and anti-missiles with a maximum range (in the ASTER 30 version) of 120 km.
The SAMP-T missile complex entered service in 2013 and 24 launchers were adopted by the Italian Army.
Each Italian SAMP-T battery is composed of 6 different types of vehicles, all on IVECO 320WM chassis.
- The ARABEL 90 multifunction radar mounted on a truck performs target discovery, acquisition, identification, and tracking.
- The Command Module where the mission is planned, supervised, and where the logistical support of the battery is coordinated.
- The Engagement Module where tactical control of the system is exercised.
- The Generator Unit is used to power the radar and the other modules during long-period missions. It features a double generator set in order to ensure continuity of operation.
- The Transporter Erector Launcher on which eight ASTER 30 missiles are loaded.
- The Transloader Module, an ASTRA truck equipped with a crane to load or unload the missiles of the battery TELs.
All the six IVECO 320WM variants for SAM batteries are equipped with hydraulic jacks that are operated by the truck’s engine thanks to a Power Take-Off (PTO) system. When necessary, the driver stops the vehicle, shifts out of gear on the gearbox, engages the handbrake and, via a manual override, connects the engine’s flywheel to a second driveshaft that operates the hydraulic system. This is the same for the winches mounted on the other standard trucks of the ACTL family.
The ASTER 30 Franco-Italian missiles have a total weight of 450 kg, of which 15 kg of High-Explosive – Fragmentation warhead with a lethal radius of 2 m.
Once out of the launcher, the missile reaches a maximum altitude of 20 km and a speed of 1,400 m/s (Mach 4.5).
The ASTRA HD6 66.45 was also adopted as a transloader for the Skyguard SHOrt Range Air Defense (SHORAD) loaded with Aspide 2000 Italian medium range SAM. It is commonly deployed to tow the launcher trailers loaded with 4-6 missiles. The truck carries 6 missiles and a crane with which it loads the missiles carried on the trailer.
Recovery and Cranes
As recovery vehicles for damaged trucks or light Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), the Italian Army had adopted various versions of cranes produced and installed on the IVECO ACTL by the Isoli SPA company.
The lighter variant is the Isoli M120 crane that is mounted on the ASTRA ACTL HD6 66.45 with civilian cabs. The crane has a lifting capacity of 12 tonnes and is commonly used for field preparation of armored vehicles, such as the Centauro heavy armored cars and the Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) of the Italian Army, the VCC-80 Dardo and the VBM Freccia.
The second variant of ASTRA ACTL with a crane is the ASTRA ACTL SM 88.42 BAT equipped with the Isoli M200 crane. This type of medium crane can lift up to 20 tonnes of cargo and is commonly used on Italian military bases. Like the other ASTRA ACTL SM 88 modified to receive a crane, it is equipped with four hydraulic jacks operated by the truck’s engine thanks to a PTO system.
The third version of the mobile crane on IVECO ACTL chassis is equipped with a TCM C 300M crane. This type of crane can lift up to 30 tonnes with its boom, which can elevate at 80°, reaching a maximum height of 14.80 m. It can be equipped with an armored cab both for the truck and for the crane to safely operate even near the frontline. It is deployed by the Italian Army to lift equipment in its military bases, maintenance in field workshops, or in case of natural disasters, helping the civilian population.
The last and heaviest mobile crane on the IVECO ACTL chassis is equipped with the TCM C 400M crane. This heavy crane has a maximum lifting capabilities of 40 tonnes with a boom that can elevate to 80°, reaching a total height of 23 m.
The ASTRA ACTL SM 88.45 BIT can be equipped with the ROSPO M, which is a recovery device mounted on the rear of the IVECO ACTL equipped with TCM C 400M to lift the front or rear axle of damaged vehicles.
The ROSPO M is a versatile system that can be equipped with many towing supports to tow damaged VBM Freccia, MRAPs, and ‘Lince’.
Italy also tested the TCM C 700 SP mobile cranes on ASTRA ACTL HD6 chassis. These have a total lifting capability of 70 tonnes, but it is not known, for now, if the Italian Army officially adopted it. The last model, with a similar fate, is the TCM C 1300 with a lifting capacity of 130 tonnes.
At Eurosatory 2018, the French company Marrel, a subsidiary of the Fassi Gru company specialized in crane production, presented an upgraded multilift variant for the IVECO M320.
The Marrel Ampliroll AL16500 DM is a telescopic moving hook loading system with CHU (Container Handling Unit). It has a total weight of 3,480 kg and a lifting capacity of 16.5 tonnes. This allows it to easily lift NATO standard containers. The system was not adopted by the Italian Army but is used by the PPTLogs of the French Army.
At Eurosatory 2022, which took place from 13th to 17th June 2022, IVECO Defense Vehicles presented a facelift to the IVECO ACTL family. The new trucks maintain the same engines and characteristics. The upgrades concerned new cabs, with the standard military ones restiled while the older ASTRA HD6 civilian cabs were substituted with the more modern IVECO T-Way civilian cabs that were militarized.
The IVECO ACTL truck family now comprises a heavier 10×10 truck and their GVW now range from 18 tonnes up to 40 tonnes. On the cabs front, the new IDV acronym of IVECO Defense Vehicles is present.
IVECO has never officially published the total number of vehicles produced and to which nation they were sold.
An unknown number of trucks are in service with the Aeronautica Militare (English: Air Force), the Marina Militare (English: Royal Navy), and the Esercito Italiano. There is very little information about their use and deployment with the different branches of the Italian Armed Forces.
The Aeronautica Militare deploys the trucks to transport equipment and personnel to the airbases. On the rare occasions in which the Italian Air Force has been deployed outside the Italian peninsula, the vehicles have rarely been spotted.
For the Marina Militare there is a similar situation, the trucks are used to transport equipment for the amphibious units and there are a few in service with this branch of the Italian Armed Forces.
Another two Italian users are the Guardia di Finanza (English: Financial Police), which uses some fuel carriers on the ASTRA ACTL SM 44.31 chassis to refill its helicopters of the Reparto Operativo AeroNavale or ROAN (English: Aero-Naval Operations Department) and the Croce Rossa Italiana (English: Italian Red Cross), which deploys Complesso Autoscarrabile APS 95 (with both SM and HD6 cabs) in its military corps to transport medical equipment and mobile labs.
France was one of the first customers of the IVECO ACTL, called Porteur Polyvalent Terrestre or PPT (English: Multipurpose Land Carrier) in France.
The Direction Générale de l’Armement or DGA (English: General Directorate of Armaments) placed an order in 2010 for 200 new vehicles from IVECO DV and Soframe (French company under Lohr management) to substitute some aging vehicles of the Armée de Terre (English: French Ground Forces).
The vehicles produced for the French Army are based on the IVECO M320WM, but many parts are produced in France by IVECO French subsidiaries. At first, France had planned to buy a total of 2,400 vehicles, but later the number was reduced to 1,800 to be ordered in various batches.
From what is known, France has ordered three batches for a total of 900 IVECO vehicles produced and delivered until 2019. More are expected to arrive.
The French Army had two different variants in service: the Porteur Polyvalent Logistique or PPLog (English: Multi-role Carrier Logistics Vehicle) and the Porteur Polyvalent Lourd de Dépannage or PPLD (English: Multi-role Truck Recovery Vehicle). These vehicles will probably be joined by another two variants that have not yet entered in service but are planned to be produced with the next batches: the Porteur Polyvalent de l’AVant or PPAV (English: Versatile Forward Carrier) and the Porteur Polyvalent Benne du Génie or PPBG (English: Multi-purpose Carrier Engineering Tipper). Of the 900 vehicles received:
- 50 are PPLD with armored cabs
- 700 are PPLog with standard cabs
- 150 are PPLog with armored cabs
The French trucks can be equipped with both armored and standard military cabs. The IVECO PPTs are modified to receive the PR4G radio, DAGR or PLGR GPS and SITEL information system.
A total of 400 vehicles were ordered with armored cabs and entered service from 2016. These vehicles include a 7.62 mm self-defense armament mount over the turret with ballistic protection for the gunner and a reserve of 2,000 rounds, a medium-power jammer, a run-flat device in case of tire puncture, and ballistic protection against small arms fire, artillery splinters and anti-mine/IED protection.
The Porteur Polyvalent Lourd de Dépannage can tow damaged vehicles up to 50 tonnes and can lift with its crane up to 12 tonnes, being able to recover the majority of wheeled and light armored vehicles of the French Army. With the crane, it can lift engines, turrets and other parts in field workshops, speeding up the maintenance or repair operations.
The Porteur Polyvalent Logistique, like the IVECO M320, can lift a weight of 16.5 tonnes and can easily transport ISO 1C containers.
The Armée de Terre deployed an unknown number of IVECO vehicles during its counterinsurgency Operation Barkhane in Mali. The armored cab variants were assigned to the French forces which were headquartered in Chad and operated in Mali. The operation ended only in November 2022 and there is no official documentation nor opinion on the vehicles published right now.
Romania is one of the main customers of the IVECO ACTL family trucks. The Romanian Ministry of National Defence started the purchase of IVECO trucks in 2015. During that year, a total of 57 IVECO trucks were sold to Forțele Terestre Române (English: Romanian Land Forces) followed in 2017 by a second batch of 173 trucks.
The Romanian Army was impressed by the truck’s characteristics and needed to substitute its old DAC444 and 665 military trucks. In December 2019, a contract for the purchase of 2,902 IVECO trucks was signed between the Romanian Ministry of National Defence and IVECO DV.
A first batch of 942 IVECO trucks was delivered starting from 2020. It was composed of all the ASTRA ACTL SM main variants on 4×4, 6×6, 8×4, and 8×8 chassis, including the M1250.70 tank transporter. In April 2021, a new IVECO DV production plant was inaugurated in Romania in the city of Petrești. with a full rate production of 440 vehicles per year.
On 4th October 2023, it was announced that IVECO DV would start the delivery of the second batch of 1,107 trucks in the near future.
Romania is for now the second largest user of the IVECO ACTL family.
In May 2015, a contract between the Ejército de Tierra (English: Spanish Ground Forces) and the IVECO DV group was signed for the purchase of 700 IVECO ACTL trucks to be delivered until 2021, plus an option for more for the future.
The IVECO trucks are produced in Spain by the IVECO Group subsidiary Pegaso and are known in Spain as IVECO-Pegaso.
As with the Romanian Army, the contract included many variants of the truck on 4×4, 6×6, 8×4, and 8×8 chassis. In March 2022, a second contract for the purchase of other vehicles was signed, even if the total number was not made public. The new 2022 contract had an overall cost of €128 million.
A total of 10 155 mm FH-70 howitzers were transferred from the Italian Army in the third aid package launched by the Draghi government in May 2022 to support the Ukrainian land forces during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The howitzers arrived with other equipment such as 6 Panzerhaubitze 2000, Aspide and Skyguard batteries, and other equipment and medical aid.
Together with the 10 howitzers, 10 ASTRA ACTL SM 66.40 CAD artillery tractors arrived in Ukraine, which were immediately deployed with the howitzers against the Russian forces.
At the time of writing (October 2023), not a single ASTRA seems to have been destroyed by Russian artillery or loitering ammunition, as it is missing from the Oryx Blog lists.
Other Lesser Known Users
The Defensie van België (English: Belgian Army) purchased a total of 400 IVECO M250.45WM trucks in 2005. Later, the Belgian Army ordered a second batch of 379 IVECO M250, of which 350 with an armored cab.
The Danish Army bought 20 (or 21, depending on the sources) IVECO M320 trucks.
These trucks, known as IVECO M320 E42, are in service with the Danish Royal Air Force and are the perfect example of IVECO truck’s modularity when customers ask for modifications: the trucks have single wheels on all the axles and are equipped with a Cormach 156000 E4 hydraulic crane. The maximum lifting capacity is 29.7 tonnes.
The Irish Army also adopted the IVECO M320 truck, with 55 vehicles bought.
Unconfirmed and Failed Export
Some sources claim that the Algerian Army bought 110 ASTRA HD6 trucks, but this is not confirmed by official sources nor photographic evidence.
In October 2022, IVECO DV joined AM General, a US company that provides vehicles to the US Army, in the development of the new Common Tactical Truck (CTT) program for the US Army.
The program, which will lead to the production of 40,000 trucks for a total contract value of US$14 billions, selected in January 2023 four Requests for Prototype Proposal (RPP). Unfortunately, the joint IVECO-AM General development of the Heavy Mobility Range Vehicle (HMRV) CTT was not accepted. Oshkosh Defense, Mack Defense, American Rheinmetall Vehicles/GM Defense, and Navistar Defense projects were instead accepted for the second phase of the program.
The IVECO ACTL also failed the tests in the United Kingdom. At least 3 vehicles were tested by the British Army during an unknown period, but they were rejected. It seems that, in 2012, the British Army preferred to buy a total of 206 IVECO TRAKKER 6×6 and 8×8 in various configurations similar to the ones on the ACTL chassis. It is plausible to assume that the British Army preferred the TRAKKER due to their lower prices compared to the ACTLs. They were bought to be operated in the country, where such powerful and protected vehicles were not needed. As on many other occasions, this could not be confirmed due to the absence of official information from the producer.
The IVECO ACTLs were the first vehicles of the Italian Army which adopted the three-tone camouflage based on the CIELAB 1976 colorimetric system. The Italian variant, studied by the Ufficio Tecnico Territoriale or UTT (English: Territorial Technical Office) of Turin is applied following the NATO STANAG 4422 regulations.
These regulations consist of 45% dark green, 41% black, and 14% brown with an error acceptable for each color of ± 0,5%. The UTT also studied desert and winter camouflages and also easily removable paint. A special paint is used for the tarpaulins because they are made of elastomer.
The types of paint used diminished the IR signatures of the trucks but not to resist chemical attacks. The camouflage schemes were created by AutoCAD software application which, thanks to the IVECO original scheme delivered to the UTT, automatically created possible solutions after adding the percentage of paint the Italian Army used.
The ASTRA/IVECO ACTL family is certainly one of the most famous in the world. Due to their robustness and limited costs compared to other logistics vehicles, they are becoming one of the most widely used logistics vehicle families in Europe, with seven European nations having adopted them.
The commonality of spare parts shared by all the vehicles of the family together with the possibility of being adopted in many specific variants make the ACTL family one of the most versatile of its type.
IVECO ACTL family Specification
|IVECO ACTL family Specification
|7.150 x 2.550 x 3.035 m
|9.00 m x 2.55 x 3.50 m
|9.342 x 2.50 x 3.055 m
|~ 15 tonnes
|Gross Vehicle Weight
|IVECO Cursor C8, 300 hp
|IVECO Cursor C10, 400 hp
|IVECO Cursor C13, 450 hp