OTO Melara was looking to make a reconnaissance vehicle for Italy in the 1980’s that would be able to be easy to manufacture and hopefully be picked up by the Italian army and put into service. During that era a lot of nations around the world would experiment with creating light, easily transportable, multi role vehicles. OTO Melara was no different and in the years leading up to this they had already some experience in the field. After some time designing the new vehicle, OTO Melara woud finally first display the prototype of the R3 Capraia, (The Capraia received its production name after an island of the Tuscan archipelago.) which would be shown at an Italian Naval exhibition at Genoa in 1982. As previously mentioned they wanted a multi-role vehicle, so for this many different variants would begin to emerge. According to OTO Melara, the R3 Capraia was able to use multiple types of weapon systems, such as a TOW launcher and a dual M40 106mm Recoiless rifle (both of these versions likely weren’t actually made but could be made if someone showed interest). Optional equipment for the OTO R3 included night vision devices, infrared vision devices and also an air conditioning unit. In terms of armor the R3 Capraia was not very survivable, it could only withstand hits from small arms fire due to its armor only being around 33mm around the vehicle max. What it did however excel in was speed. In terms of mobility the vehicle would be powered by a supercharged and water cooled engine made by Fiat, which allowed the R3 Capraia to reach speeds of up to 120km an hour. It had a max range of 500km, which for a reconnaissance vehicle would be very good as it meant it could be a great fit for the scouting role. OTO Melara conducted many tests on the R3, it was liked by the people testing it and at times they’d even take it out for joy rides on the streets of Italy. Sadly, the R3 would not be picked up by the Italian army, and did not generate any interest in the export market for potential customers. Overall for what it was, the vehicle did have many promising qualities that could’ve easily been taken advantage of during the era, but the market was simpily too saturated for it to be picked over the competition. Its unknown what happened to most of the R3’s made, the only known surviving one from the batch of R3 prototypes presumably currently resides inside of the OTO Melara facilities in La Spezia awaiting restoration.
OTO R3 Capraia with dual 80mm Breda-Folgore Italian made recoiless rifles, this alongside the APC and 20mm versions were known to be actually made. In terms of the armament this variant used, the Breda-Folgore started development around the years of 1974 and by 1986 it was in full time service inside of the Italian army. The Breda-Folgore had an effective range of 1000 metres and also had the benefit of a x5 optical rangefinder which would greatly aid the vehicle if it had to engage enemies. According to forecast international the Breda-Folgore was able to penetrate over 450mm of RHA, so the majority of IFV’s and other armored vehicles of the era would be in trouble if they would ever be hit by such a weapon. A skilled team on the ground would be able to fire 1 round every 15 seconds, which paired with the R3 would mean serious mayhem as it would likely be able to fire at a much quicker pace. One of the many great qualities of the R3 Capraia was that the vehicle had the ability to be submersed unto water and be amphibious, however it sadly wouldn’t be very fast. The turret was able to be traversed fully at 360 degrees, at a speed of 30 degrees a second. Last but not least the special mount it had allowed the vehicle to also have access to a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun.