The second vehicle will to be fitted with a dedicated ground-penetrating radar. MBDA has signed an agreement with the U.K.'s Chemring to integrate the Visor 2500 radar, in service with the U.S. Army and fitted on different vehicles. (Chemring acquired its U.S. maker, Nitek, in 2008). The radar searches the ground and is capable of finding and identifying buried IEDs.
Information from the radar is displayed to an operator sitting in the vehicle, showing a 2-D or 3-D image of the ground. Advanced processing software will classify the contacts, reducing the false-alarm rate.
The third vehicle is equipped with a mechanical arm used to dig and precisely locate the threat, while the fourth vehicle will perform area surveillance using electro-optical sensors that can detect any sign of IED activity. The army is also slated to acquire systems to counter remotely detonated IEDs, or RDIEDs, which will effectively jam and disable their controllers and/or activation systems.
The army also has a requirement for an explosive ordnance disposal vehicle, again based on the VTMM. The army thinks that the VTMM offers the best combination of protection and mobility, obviating the need for heavy vehicles that are difficult to operate in many areas of countries like Afghanistan. VTMMs are light enough to allow strategic deployability, while using a common chassis will keep costs down compared with systems using completely different vehicles.
The Iveco VTMM is the fruit of a collaboration with Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and covers a “family” of vehicles, in 4 X 4 and 6 X 6 configuration. The Italian army has opted for the smaller 4 x 4 to carry out a wide variety of combat support roles. Initially the army planned for the acquisition of up to 1,800 vehicles, but the total number already had been trimmed to around 1,400 before the defense ministry announced an overarching armed forces restructuring that will reduce the combat strength of the army. Nevertheless the VTMM acquisition is going to continue until 2031 and is to be carried out in three batches, with the first being completed in 2017, a second between 2018 and 2026 and the third from 2027 to 2031.