The Dardo (previously called VCC-80) tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) is a joint development by IVECO and the former OTO Melara (now OTO Breda) to produce an IFV to meet an Italian Army requirement. The first order for the delivery of 200 vehicles was placed in 1998.
The VCC-80 Dardo is a true IFV, having a powerful 25 mm Oerlikon-Contraves cannon mounted in electrically operated two-man turret. This cannon is provided with an advanced fire control system of a type more commonly associated with main battle tanks as it involves laser rangefinder and thermal imaging equipment.
The cannon, which has a maximum effective range of some 2 500 meters, can be elevated sufficiently to allow it to engage low-flying helicopters. It also has a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, another ᴡᴇᴀᴘᴏɴ station with a 7.62 mm machine gun is provided on top of the turret for air and local defense. It is also possible to mount a MILAN or similar anti-tank missile launcher on the turret roof.
The hull is of welded aluminum construction with bolted armored steel plates. Such construction allowed to reduce weight of the vehicle. Five firing ports are available for the six troops carried in compartment in the hull rear which is also provided with a power operated ramp for entry and exit. There is also air conditioning and collective NBC system. In addition to an impressive array of optical vision devices, passive night vision equipment is provided for the crew (driver, commander and gunner).
This Italian IFV is powered by IVECO 8560 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 520 hp. The Dardo IFV can wade through water obstacles up to 1.5 meters deep without preparation. It has been proposed that the 25 mm cannon could be replaced by an OTOBREDA 60 mm high velocity gun in a special turret on some vehicles.