Centauro 155/39 LW - 155mm/39-cal / 8x8 SPH
The Centauro 155/39 artillery system is being developed by Iveco and OTO-Melara. It is also [incorrectly, it seems] referred as “Porcospino” / “Porcupine”, the confusion arising from the simulaneous debut of this SPH system with a CIWS gun system. This 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer provides fire support forces for rapid deployment using light 155-mm guns 39 caliber (155/39 LW) with integrated high-performance muzzle brake. The automatic loading system of ammunition and propellant with fuses works at any angle of elevation of the gun, provides a high rate of fire, including the MRSI method (simultaneous strike by several projectiles).
The CENTAURO 155/39 LW turret is uninhabited, equipped with a paired 7.62-mm machine gun and the HITROLE® sighting system with optical and day / night guidance channels. CENTAURO 155/39 LW firing ammunition according to the NATO standard JBMOU and guided munitions VULCANO. To deploy and bring the ACS on alert, it takes less than three minutes and one minute is enough to leave the firing position.
The original armor hull has undergone minimal changes associated with an increase in the level of protection against mines. SAU Centauro 155/39 LW is equipped with a diesel engine Iveco MTCA capacity of 520 liters. with. Such a power plant in combination with a wheeled chassis provides a 25-ton combat vehicle with a fairly high running performance. On the highway, the vehicle can accelerate to a speed of about 100 km / h and travel up to 800 kilometers with one refueling.
At the rear of the armored hull, a rather large turret with an instrument was installed at the Porcupine ACS. At the first glance at the unit, the gaze lingers on the turret with the original gun mask. Both the turret itself and the mask are assembled from several straight metal sheets, which gives them a characteristic appearance with many straight faces.
Design features of the turret and chassis of the ACS Centauro 155/39 LW led to specific capabilities for targeting guns. Systems inside the turret can raise the howitzer barrel to an elevation of 75° from the horizontal and lower it 5° below it. At the same time, the turret has limited horizontal guidance angles: due to the peculiarities of balancing the chassis and the machine as a whole from the recoil of the gun [a singular problem with such arms which mount big guns on small platforms], as well as due to a number of other constructive moments, the turret rotates only 15° to the right and left of the self-propelled longitudinal axis. Thus the gun recoils along the axis of the vehicle, reducing the risk of the vehicle flipping over. This may significantly limit the direct fire combat capabilities of the machine when working at the front line, but it has almost no effect on indirected fire from fixed positions, for which it is primarily intended. The same can be said about the time required to transfer the vehicle from a traveling position to a combat one. The first shot is possible three minutes after arriving at the position.
The main weapon of the self-propelled artillery is the155-mm howitzer FH70 with a barrel length of 39 calibers. The gun has a large muzzle brake with a large number of round holes. When using active-jet missiles, ACS Centauro 155/39 LW can hit targets at a distance of up to 60 kilometers.
The crew of the ACS Centauro 155/39 LW consists of only two people, located inside the armored hull. The turret, in turn, is uninhabited. The howitzer comes with a fully automatic loading system, which provides a firing rate of up to 8 rounds per minute. High rate of fire is compensated by a small ammunition. There are only 15 shots in the autoloader packs, which accordingly affects the practical rate of fire. Because of this, the developers suggest using the gun together with a transport-loading machine on a similar chassis. After the spent ammunition is used up, the self-propelled gun can get new shells within 8-10 minutes and open fire again in about another minute. The ability to feed shells from the ground is not provided.
CENTAURO 155/39 LW is made on the basis of an 8-wheel chassis with anti-nuclear and ballistic protection. The chassis has high tactical and strategic mobility, good agility, fast deployment, high survivability. The developer declared the presence of an automatic built-in bulldozer. CENTAURO 155/39 LW can be integrated into any combat control system and network. The on-board modules (computers, virtual reality systems, GPS, etc.) allow you to control the fire autonomously and as part of an artillery brigade. The developer considers CENTAURO 155/39 LW to be the most up-to-date answer to the requirements of “Digitized Warfare”.
ACS Centauro 155/39 LW was first demonstrated on June 2, 2011 at a military parade in Rome, dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the proclamation of the republic and the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The Centauro 155/39 LW ACS was developed by the CIO consortium, which includes Iveco Fiat and OTO Melara based on the modified B1 Centauro wheeled tank chassis.
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