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Centauro II MGS 120/105

On 19 October 2016, Italian defense officials and industry representatives gathered at a military base on the outskirts of Rome to view a demonstration of Rome's newest tank, the Centauro II. The exhibition took place at the Cecchignola Army range. Parliament was still deliberating on whether to approve the $520 million for the combat vehicle, as Mauro Moretti, CEO of aerospace technology company Leonardo, and Deputy Defence Staff Chief Lt. Gen. Danilo Errico watched the prototype traverse ditches and steep hills. The Centauro II is more powerful than the original, with a 720-horsepower engine, a digital-communication display and a 120 mm cannon. It was built through a joint venture between Leonardo and Italian vehicle manufacturer Iveco, and if funding is approved, the Italian army would acquire 150 of the tanks.

Defense News quoted Lt. Gen. Francesco Castrataro speaking at the exhibition saying, "The new Centauro is a tank destroyer which protects troops, rather than a tank, which would be weigh[ed] in at double the maximum 30 ton weight of a Centauro. It is essential to combine the new Centauro with the Freccia, which is a troop transporter. It is agile, flexible and can do more than 100 [kilometers per hour] on a road." It was noted that the Centauro II "is cheaper, lighter and more flexible than a tank, with the same destructive power as a tank." The general also pointed out that the eight wheels extending from the hull can serve as a buffer from mines the tank may run over, and addressed funding concerns, saying that the Italian Defense Ministry can recoup its investment from royalties if enough of the vehicles are sold outside of the country.

The new Centauro armored vehicle represents a new stage in the evolution of the storied Centauro 105 and 120mm armored vehicle, the first 8x8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun. As regards mobility in particular, the power-to-weight ratio, increased to 24 HP/tonne, provides unequalled performance in terms of speed and acceleration thanks to the new-generation IVECO engine, offering more than 720 HP, and to the associated modernisation of the transmission, braking system and control electronics. The digital tyre pressure control (CTIS), allied with run-flat systems, the new suspension and the low nominal ground pressure allow the new Centauro armored vehicle to extricate itself from any type of terrain.

As for ballistic armor, protection levels are significantly higher than in the past, with a completely rearranged hull chassis and turret design, integratable add-on ballistics and technical solutions, tested to the AEP 55 standard, capable of handling threats such as mines, IEDs and the latest-generation kinetic munitions. Crew safety has also been further increased, with partitioning of stand-by ammunition and stores within the hull, in addition to the state-of-the-art NBC, fire-fighting and anti-explosion systems.

As regards ergonomics, the ammunition reserves in the hull are automated, as is the new automatic loading system in the turret. The third generation 120/45 mm gun (optional 105/52mm interchangeable to 120 mm), with integrated and stabilised low-recoil muzzle brake, provides the same fire power as most modern main battle tanks, with the capability of firing all latest generation 120 mm NATO APFSDS and multi-role MP munitions. The turret, equipped with new anti-mine seats, has a crew of three men - commander, gunner and loader - with the latter able to use the new automatic loading system, while being able also to undertake manual loading operations, as back-up, or other emergency operations.

Optronic equipment includes a panoramic commanders sight and a gunners sight, both latest-generation, and a back-up sight for use in degraded mode. The vehicle is fully network-integrated (for NCW). In the turret, as an alternative to the external turntable-mounted anti-aircraft machine gun, a remote-operated HITROLE Light turret can be installed, with the possibility of using 7.62 or 12.7 calibre machine guns as well as 40 mm AGLs, integrated with the firing system, allowing the loader to undertake battlefield surveillance from a protected position.

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Page last modified: 22-10-2016 16:11:01 ZULU