The Centauro II MGS 120/105 is a family of Italian military vehicles originating from a wheeled tank destroyer for light to medium territorial defense and tactical reconnaissance. It was developed by a consortium of manufacturers, the Società Consortile Iveco Fiat – Oto Melara (CIO).
The new Centauro armoured vehicle represents a new stage in the evolution of the storied Centauro 105 and 120mm armoured vehicle, the first 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun. The first prototype was ready in 2015. It was first publicly revealed in 2016. Italian Army plans to obtain 74 of these new fire support vehicles to replace some of its Centauro B1 vehicles in medium brigades.
The Centauro 2 is intended to carry out tactical reconnaissance, fire support of combat units and territorial defense tasks. It can escort convoys and be used for road patrol missions. Once in service with Italian Army the Centrauro 2 will operate in medium brigades alongside Freccia infantry fighting vehicles, and associated combat vehicles based on similat 8×8 wheeled chassis.
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 armoured vehicle to extricate itself from any type of terrain.
This fire support vehicle is armed with a more powerful 120 mm high-pressure gun. It is compatible with all standard NATO 120 mm tank ammunition. The gun is fed by an automatic loading system. This fire support vehicle uses APFSDS, multi-role, and other munitions. The 120 mm APFSDS round penetrates 600 mm of rolled homogenous steel armor at a range of 3 000 m.
As for ballistic armour, 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 commander’s sight and a gunner’s 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.
This fire support vehicle is powered by IVECO turbocharged diesel engine, developing 720 hp. Engine is located at the front. It is mated to an automatic transmission. Steering is provided on the first and second axles and at slow speed with also the fourth axle. Vehicle is equipped with run-flat tyres and fitted with central tyre inflation system.