On July 24, 2018, the Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium (CIO), which is 50% owned by Leonardo, signed a contract worth 159 million Euros with the Italian Ministry of Defence for the acquisition of the first 10 new Centauro II armoured vehicles. The signing ceremony took place at Palazzo Guidoni, the headquarters of the Italian Secretariat General of Defence and of the National Armaments Directorate. It was attended by the Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director, Aerial Squadron Marshall Carlo Magrassi, the Italian Army Chief of Staff, General Salvatore Farina, and the Director of the Land Armaments, Lieutenant General Francesco Castrataro.
This is the first tranche out of a total 136 units. The contract also includes spares and logistic support.
The contract value for Leonardo amounts to approximately 92 million Euros. The company will be responsible for the development and integration of the complete turret defence system, including the observation, targeting and communications systems.
Centauro II is a major step forward compared to the Centauro I in terms of power, situational awareness, mobility, ergonomics, shooting behaviour and communications, all while providing maximum crew protection. It is a latest-generation wheeled armoured vehicle that can operate in any number of scenarios: from national security missions to peacekeeping and support operations and in other operational theatres in which the Armed Forces need to intervene.
Eurosatory 2016 gave the Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) the opportunity to display the latest and most innovative achievements in the field of armoured vehicles.
CIO presented in Paris its newly developed Centauro II, the latest evolution of the Centauro Family. The Centauro having been the first 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun. The Centauro II represents the logical evolution, being armed with a third generation 120/45-mm gun, with integrated muzzle brake and semi-automatic loading system. The weapon system provides a fire power equivalent to that of most modern main battle tanks, and is capable of firing all latest generation 120-mm, NATO Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding-Sabot (APFSDS) and multi-role Multi-Purpose (MP) munitions.
To ensure unequalled mobility a new-generation engine, upgraded transmission, braking system and control electronics have been adopted. While maintaining the H-drive architecture, the Centauro family hallmark, the chassis was rearranged to further improve protection against mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), state-of-the-art add-on ballistic packages fitted to the hull ensuring high level protection against kinetic energy and hollow charge projectiles. The same applies to the turret, which also follows the add-on armour kit concept.
Ammunition stored in the hull and in the turret are hosted in compartments separated from the crew section by explosion-proof doors, pre-carved panels and dedicated anti-explosion systems ensuring further crew safety. The Centauro II turret is fitted with latest generation optronics for the commander and gunner and with a suite of communications and command and control systems ensuring maximum situational awareness. The turret can be fitted with a Hitrole Light Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS), that increases flexibility in other-than-war scenarios while ensuring maximum crew protection.
Another vehicle of the Centauro family on display is the Centauro Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV)/ Overhead Weapons Station (OWS) 30 Freccia, which combines the proven and highly reliable drive train of the Centauro Family with a hull designed to ensure maximum crew survivability. It has outstanding tactical mobility thanks to its powerful engine driving an automatic gearbox and enhanced by 3-axle steering. The overhead version is fitted with the HITFIST OWS 30-mm turret, a remotely operated weapon station developed with the latest technologies in the field of electronics, signature and Man Machine Interface. The main armament consists of the 30-mm chain gun, electrically controlled in elevation, traversing and firing operations.
The Centauro Veicolo Blindato Medio (VBM) Mortar Carrier shares the characteristics of mobility and versatility typical of the Centauro family. Its platform is fitted with a 120-mm rifled mortar that offers many advantages in terms of precision, range, operativeness and ergonomy thanks to its semi-automatic loading system. The system is operated by electro – hydraulic servo system for traverse and elevation of the mortar.
The vehicle with its weapon system on board can be rapidly deployed in complex security conditions thus providing effective support to combat units. The Command, Control and Communication system (C3) installed together with a Command and Control System (C2) for Artillery allow a deep integration of this platform in the net-centric scenario.