Centauro II 120mm – first 8×8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle in production

ROME, ($1=0.89 Euros) — In the coming years, the market for heavily armored vehicles will offer the first 8×8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle Centauro II after its series production began earlier this month. The news was confirmed on Twitter, but nearly two years ago [2020] the Italian authorities announced their intentions.

Centauro II 120mm - first 8x8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle in production
Photo credit: CIO

A year later, in 2021, the contractor, the Italian consortium Iveco – Oto Melara [CIO] confirmed its intentions to mass-produce the Centauro II 8×8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle. According to the agreement signed between the Italian army and the CIO, 150 armored vehicles will initially be produced for the needs of the Italians. Sources claim that during the period of serial production, the CIO will prepare an export version to attack the international markets of armored vehicles.

Centauro II is not a tank, but it offers the same capabilities. The transport of several units by transport aircraft is possible, and its deployment on the battlefield is fast and accurate. There are rumors that in the future Centauro II may become part of the armament of the Italian Rapid Reaction Force.

What are the main features of Centauro II?

As already mentioned, the Centauro II is not a tank but operates with the same capabilities. However, the difference is in the lighter weight of the Centauro II – 30 tons. One battle tank weighs between 50 and 60 tons.

Centauro II 120mm - first 8x8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle in production
Photo credit: CIO

Centauro II is a little over 8 meters long together with a 120 mm cannon and over 3 meters high together with a turned [2 meters without turred]. The wheelbase is 2.65 meters. Centauro II has a three-member crew – commander, gunner, and loader.

The maximum speed of the anti-tank vehicle is a little over 105 km / h. With a full tank and an average speed of 70 km / h. Centauro II travels just over 800 km. The turning circle radius is less than 9 meters, and the power to weight ratio [in combat order] is 24 CV / t.

Engine and parameters

Centauro II is powered by a diesel engine Iveco Vector 8V Euro III providing 720 horsepower at 533 kW. The speeds are 7 + 1 with automatic transmission.

This type of engine has a stabilized cast iron monolithic block with wet cylinder liners, eutectic pistons made of aluminum alloy, a toroidal cooling tunnel, and an omega-shaped combustion chamber. The driveshaft is also high-strength steel with counterweights and front/rear balancing flywheel. The engine also has turbochargers driven by an output door and common rail injection with full electronic control.

Iveco Vector 8V Euro III has an H-shaped driveline on both shafts, hydropneumatic and independent suspension, which is connected to the steering of the 1st – 2nd, and 4th axles and all under the control of a specially developed by the company disc brake system.

Weapons

As it has already become clear, the main cannon of the Centauro II is 120 mm, but according to the customer’s requirements, a 105 mm cannon can also be installed. Automatic loading system for both caliber cannons. The ammunition stored for the main cannon is 12 ready for firing according to NATO standard.

Centauro II 120mm - first 8x8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle in production
Photo credit: CIO

Additionally, a coaxial machine gun HITROLE Mod.L 7.62 mm is integrated into the turret, but an external machine gun 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm can also be integrated. The coaxial machine gun has 750 rounds, the outer 7.62mm machine gun has at least 1,000 rounds available.

Centauro II has a smoke grenade launcher – 8×81 dischargers. This weapon system also has ammunition stored and they are a total of 16 smoke grenades.

C4ISR systems

Centauro II has two different optical systems – one for the commander and one for the main gun of the anti-tank armored vehicle. The commander’s optical system has integrated sights for daytime firing, as well as infrared sights with 3rd generation electro-optical transducers. The same is the optical equipment for firing with the main gun of the armored vehicle. There is a separate integrated mechanically linked direct view.

The radio system is HF + VHF + UHF + UHF LB + SAT, as well as a built-in internal digital intercom for communication between the crew. The vehicle has integrated baseboard management controllers using HTTP protocols, as well as digital anti-RC-IED modular systems designed to disrupt enemy radio-controlled improvised explosive devices.

Centauro II 120mm - first 8x8 wheeled anti-tank vehicle in production
Photo credit: CIO

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