Italian Armed Forces

Italian Armed Forces
Italian Armed Forces
Forze Armate Italiane
Stemma araldico e distintivo dello Stato Maggiore Difesa.svg
Coat of Arms of the Italian Defence Staff
Founded 4 May 1861
Service branches Esercito Italiano (Army)
Marina Militare (Navy)
Aeronautica Militare (Air Force)
Carabinieri (Gendarmerie)
Guardia di Finanza (Financial Guard)
Headquarters Rome
Commander-in-chief Giorgio Napolitano
Minister of Defence Ignazio La Russa
Chief of Defence Gen. Vincenzo Camporini
Military age 18 years of age
Conscription voluntary (since 2003)
Available for
military service
13,791,260, age 15-49 (2005)
Fit for
military service
10,963,513, age 15-49 (2005)
Reaching military
age annually
286,344 (2005)
Active personnel 293,202[1] (ranked 18th)
Reserve personnel 41,867[1]
Deployed personnel 8,450[1]
Budget €20-50 billion (2010)[2]
Percent of GDP 0.914%[2]
Domestic suppliers AgustaWestland
Alenia Aermacchi
Alenia Aeronautica
Fiocchi Munizioni
Oto Melara
Piaggio Aero
SELEX Galileo
SELEX Sistemi Integrati
Simmel Difesa
Foreign suppliers  European Union
 United States
Annual imports €1,168 mil. (2009)[3]
Annual exports €6,735 mil. (2009)[3]
Related articles
History Military history of Italy
Regio Esercito
Regia Marina
Regia Aeronautica
Ranks Italian Army ranks
Italian Navy ranks
Italian Air Force ranks

The Italian armed forces (Italian: Forze Armate dello Stato) are the military of Italy, they are under the command of the Italian Supreme Council of Defence, presided over by the President of the Italian Republic. The total number of active military personnel is 293,202.[1] Italy has the ninth highest military expenditure in the world.


Italian Constitution

Article 11 of the Constitution of Italy says:

Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the settlement of international disputes. Italy agrees, on conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order ensuring peace and justice among the Nations. Italy promotes and encourages international organisations furthering such ends.

Article 52 says:

The defence of the country is a sacred duty for every citizen. Military service is obligatory within the limits and in the manner set by law. Its fulfilment shall not prejudice a citizen’s job, nor the exercise of political rights. The organisation of the armed forces shall be based on the democratic spirit of the Republic.

And part of article 87 says:

The President [of the Republic] is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, shall preside over the Supreme Council of Defence established by law, and shall make declarations of war as have been agreed by Parliament.

The four branches of Italian Armed Forces

The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) is the ground defense force of the Italian Republic. It has recently (July 29, 2004) become a professional all-volunteer force of 115,687 active duty personnel. Its most famous combat vehicles are Dardo, Puma, Centauro and Ariete, and Mangusta attack helicopters, recently deployed in UN missions.

The Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI), the air force of Italy, was founded as an independent service arm on March 28, 1923, by King Vittorio Emanuele III as the Regia Aeronautica (which equates to "Royal Air Force"). After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the Regia Aeronautica was given its current name. Today the Aeronautica Militare has a strength of 45,879 and operates 585 aircraft, including 219 combat jets and 114 helicopters. As a stopgap and as replacement for leased Tornado ADV interceptors, the AMI has leased 30 F-16A Block 15 ADF and four F-16B Block 10 Fighting Falcons, with an option for some more. The coming years also will see the introduction of 96 EF2000 Eurofighter Typhoons, replacing the leased F-16 Fighting Falcons. Furthermore updates are foreseen on the Tornado IDS/IDT and the AMX-fleet. The transport capacity will be improved with the delivery of twenty two C-130Js (for 2°Gr) and an upgrade programme for the C-130Hs. Also a completely new developed G222, called C-27J Spartan, has entered service replacing the G222's.

The Marina Militare, the Italian Navy, was created in 1946 as the Navy of the Italian Republic, from the Regia Marina. Today's Marina Militare is a modern navy with a strength of 35,261 and ships of every type, such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, modern frigates, submarines, amphibious ships and other smaller ships such as oceanographic research ships.

The Marina Militare is now equipping herself with a bigger aircraft carrier (the Cavour), new destroyers (Horizon class frigate Orizzonte class) and Luigi durand de La Penne, submarines (Todaro) and multipurpose frigates. In modern times, the Marina Militare, being a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations. The Guardia Costiera is a component of the Marina Militare.

The Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy. At the Sea Islands Conference of the G8 in 2004, the Carabinieri were given the mandate to establish a Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) to spearhead the development of training and doctrinal standards for civilian police units attached to international peacekeeping missions.[4]

The Guardia di Finanza also functions as a specialized military police force and is a component of the Italian Armed Forces.

Sovereign Military Order of Malta

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta often offers medical or paramilitary support to Italian operations, mainly hospital trains.

NATO membership and UN missions

Alpini of the 4th Alpini Parachutist Regiment attached to ISAF.

Italy has worked closely with the United States and others on such issues as NATO and UN operations as well as with assistance to Russia and the other CIS nations, Middle East peace process, multilateral talks, Somalia and Mozambique peacekeeping, and combating drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and terrorism.

Under long-standing bilateral agreements flowing from NATO membership, Italy hosts important U.S. military forces at Vicenza – home of 173d Airborne Brigade – and Livorno (USA); Aviano (USAF); and Sigonella, Nisida, and Gaeta – home port for the U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet. The United States has about 16,000 military personnel stationed in Italy. Italy hosts the NATO Defence College at Cecchignola, near Rome. Italy did take part in the 1990–91 Gulf War but solely through the deployment of eight Italian Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS bomber jets to Saudi Arabia; Italian Army troops were subsequently deployed to assist Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq following the conflict.

As part of Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, Italy contributed to the international operation in Afghanistan. Italian forces have contributed to ISAF, the NATO force in Afghanistan, and a Provincial reconstruction team and five Italian soldiers have died under ISAF. Italy has sent 411 troops, based on one infantry company from the 2nd Alpini Regiment tasked to protect the ISAF HQ, one engineer company, one NBC platoon, one logistic unit, as well as liaison and staff elements integrated into the operation chain of command. Italian forces also command a multinational engineer task force and have deployed a platoon of Italian military police. Three AB 212 helicopters also were deployed to Kabul and four Tornado.

The Italian Army did not take part in combat operations of the 2003 Second Gulf War, dispatching troops only after May 1, 2003 – when major combat operations were declared over by the U.S. President George W. Bush. Subsequently Italian troops arrived in the late summer of 2003, and began patrolling Nasiriyah and the surrounding area. On 26 May 2006, Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema announced that the Italian forces would be reduced to 1,600 by June; Italian participation in the military operations in Iraq was concluded by the end of 2006, with full withdrawal of Italian military personnel except for a small group of about 30 soldiers engaged in providing security for the Italian embassy in Baghdad, and about 87 soldiers stationing in bases in the Persian Gulf (but not in Iraqi territory). As of June 2006 32 Italian troops have been killed in Iraq – with the greatest single loss of life coming on November 12, 2003 – a suicide car bombing of the Italian Carabinieri Corps HQ left a dozen Carabinieri, five Army soldiers, two Italian civilians, and eight Iraqi civilians dead.


Current operations of Italian Armed Forces

Since the second post-war the Italian armed force has become more and more engaged in international peace support operations, mainly under the auspices of the United Nations. The Italian armed forces are currently participating in 24 missions that take place in 18 countries over three continents[5]:


External links

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