Portolano hearing (2): armaments and personnel
"It is necessary to team up on research and industry to make Italy a country system"
Investments in the Defense sector, recruitment of personnel and modernization of the fleets and vehicles of the Armed Forces. These are some of the topics discussed today by the Secretary General of Defense and Italian Director of Armaments, General Luciano Portolano, heard this morning in the Defense Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The soldier reiterated the need to work as a team, focusing on research and industry, a requirement for making Italy a "country system" in the eyes of the world, repeating the success of the pre-sale of the armored vehicle "Centauro 2" to Brazil.
First of all, the General explained the importance of increasing defense spending to 2% of the country's GDP: "Strengthening investment does not only mean having more armaments, because defense capabilities are also based on maintenance, logistical support , infrastructure, personnel and training on coherent systems". Suffice it to say that "during the Cold War, expenditure amounted to 2.5% of GDP and compared to that period, the threat from Moscow has increased". Therefore "the 2% defense budget target would allow for the mitigation of these critical issues".
Responding to some questions on the military instrument, Portolano emphasized the "multi-domain capability". Of "particular importance is the land force, made up of systems of systems: armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, drones. It is our responsibility and duty towards, not only our country, our men and our women" to focus on the "growth of defense competitiveness" to employ the best means "for future scenarios".
Hence the discussion on the modernization of fleets: the development of the sixth generation Global Combat Air Program (Gcap) "is a complementary program to the F-35, which will be replaced over time with higher capabilities. The United Kingdom and Japan use the F-35s, so we have a common knowledge base". "The initiative remains open to European partners, who are a point of reference with whom we share our strategic horizon with a view to an enlarged Mediterranean". Each "international cooperation is aimed at having know-how: Japan is an important player in the Indo-Pacific and is therefore an important opportunity for technologies and industry".
Similar discourse of Portolano on helicopters. The New Generation Fighter (NGF) project of France, Germany and Spain is a "new structure under study, which fits into a Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) context, complementary to our technologically advanced helicopter". There are "several aircraft under study: Future Vertical Lift (Fvl), Sikorsky's Defiant helicopter and others. We will choose according to the needs of our Armed Forces".
The General then focused on civilian Defense personnel: "20,000 are needed" by 2025, a volume stipulated in Law 244 of 2012 to make up for the shortages. "Today we have 15,000 units with 1,165 in the process of retirement, which would bring the number down to 13,800. Our needs include a plan of 2,430" immediate hirings and another "2,230 by 2024". Furthermore, it is "necessary to fill the organic gaps to make up for the critical issues relating to the activities that have an impact on the technical and administrative areas: for example, the Taranto arsenal or the Nettuno experimental polygon". In this sense "a push is needed on the defense sector".
On the matter see also the article published by AVIONEWS.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency