The Brazilian Army, through the Comando Logistico (COLOG) / Diretoria de Material (DMat), has chosen the Centauro II 120 mm system made by Società Consortile Iveco – Oto Melara (CIO) as top of the list within the procurement process named Viatura Blindada de Cavalaria Média Sobre Rodas (VBC Cav – MSR 8×8). The wheeled tank destroyer prevails over the General Dynamics Land Systems LAV 700 AG, which ended second in the competition, and the NORINCO ST1-BR, ending in third position. The contract, which provides for the purchase of at least 98 Centauro IIs and which may be extended to 221 in the coming years.
The Centauro is a family of Italian military vehicles originating from a wheeled tank destroyer. It was developed by a consortium of manufacturers, the Società Consortile Iveco Fiat – OTO Melara (CIO). Iveco Fiat was tasked with developing the hull and propulsion systems while Oto Melara was responsible for developing the turrets and weapon systems. The new-generation IVECO engine offering more than 720 HP. 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.
The Centauro II armoured vehicle is a wheeled 8×8 system fitted with 120 mm armament, representing the top in the sector in terms of power, observation, mobility, ergonomics, firing performance, communication and crew protection. 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 new Centauro II is the first 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun.
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. 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. 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).