Power, observation, mobility, ergonomics, firing accuracy, communication, and, of course, best survivability: these are the basic requirements that have led to the development and production of the latest member of the Centauro family, the new Centauro II armoured vehicle, a product with an outstanding amount of technological content, unique in its category.
Equipped with fully digital architecture, the Centauro II, realised by CIO, the Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium, is a champion of technology, the result of a close collaboration between Industry and Defence. In developing each individual component, attention to safety went hand in hand with operational effectiveness. Centauro II is in fact a perfect example of integration among best enabling technologies developed by Leonardo in the land systems field.
The result of such development effort is a new generation vehicle, capable of operating in any scenario: from missions in defence of national security to interventions in aid of populations threatened by natural disasters, from support and peacekeeping operations, to any other operational situation where Armed Forces are asked to intervene.
Centauro II features many of Leonardo’s innovations. The new turret is equipped with latest generation electro-optics for both the commander and the gunner (the ATTILA II panoramic periscope and the Lothar SD gunner system) and an amazing number of communication systems (six radios) beside a sophisticated command and control system (SICCONA), ensuring maximum interoperability and availability of information in operation.
A remotely-operated Hitrole Light turret, capable of increasing flexibility meanwhile ensuring maximum crew protection, is fitted to the main turret; furthermore, a H3 Jammer is also integrated, to prevent the remote activation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The Centauro II is equipped with the latest generation 120/45 mm gun, a formidable weapon for self-defence and deterrence, compatible with the latest generation of standard NATO ammunition. Despite the high level of protection, the large calibre gun and the huge amount of on-board equipment, the Centauro II turret is very light-weight and does not affect the vehicle’s capability and mobility.
Particular attention has been paid in the construction of the hull, which is “V” shaped for increased protection against mines and IEDs, and is equipped with high-efficiency ballistic plates as well as the turret. The adoption of a system that allows the vehicle to be driven with just “indirect” vision provided by externally fitted cameras is a total innovation compared to the past.
In order to ensure maximum mobility, a new generation engine, upgraded transmission, and renewed braking system and control electronics, have also been developed and installed.
The Centauro II is the natural evolution of the Centauro armoured vehicle, the first 8×8 wheeled antitank in the world, developed and produced to meet the Italian Army’s requirements during the Cold War years, with the aim of ensuring enhanced mobility to the Italian brigades deployed in the defence of Italian territory.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the deep changes that followed it, the Centauro provided an excellent proof of capabilities in scenarios that were unpredictable at the time it was designed: peace support operations, conflict prevention, humanitarian operations, as well as classic operational scenarios.
In service with the Armed Forces of Italy, Spain, Jordan and Oman, the Centauro was produced in several versions to meet various customer requirements. The Centauro II takes advantage of the excellent legacy of the Centauro family, meanwhile solving a series of novel requirements directly arising from the experience gained in the field, thus resulting in the best solution to the complexity of the modern operational theatre.