Ground Warfare

Spanish Army to Modernize Its Fleet of B1 Centauro 8×8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer

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Spanish Army to Modernize Its Fleet of B1 Centauro 8×8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer

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Spanish Army to Modernize Its Fleet of B1 Centauro 8x8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer
Spanish Army to Modernize Its Fleet of B1 Centauro 8x8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer

The Spanish Army has unveiled plans for a substantial modernization effort targeting its fleet of B1 Centauro 8×8 wheeled tank destroyer. The initiative, backed by contracts totaling 8.8 million euros, signifies a pivotal step in Spain’s ongoing commitment to enhancing military equipment and ensuring its armed forces remain at the forefront of technological advancements and operational efficiency. The foundation for this modernization initiative lies in the acquisition of 84 B1 Centauro , known as Vehículo de Reconocimiento y Combate de Caballería (VRCC-105) in Spanish. The Spanish Army’s commitment to staying technologically competitive is evident in the recent investments of 5.3 and 3.5 million euros for the further enhancement of these armored vehicles.

The modernization efforts include crucial updates such as the incorporation of the latest generation thermal sleeve, the ROVIS intercom system, and the rearming of vehicles with two or three Rheinmetall MG3 7.62 mm machine guns. Additionally, Spain has ensured compatibility with other equipment in the Ejército de Tierra by incorporating components like the PR4G radio and Rovis digital intercom equipment. Distinguishing the Spanish version from its Italian counterpart are notable features, including an additional spaced armor plate on the lower frontal hull and the placement of eight smoke launchers on the sides of the turret, covered by 15 mm spaced armor. The choice of Rheinmetall MG3 machine-guns further sets the Spanish VRCC-105 apart, as they replace the Italian Beretta MG 42/59.

Spanish Army VRCC-105 (B1 Centauro) 8x8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer.
Spanish Army VRCC-105 (B1 Centauro) 8×8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer.

The 84 VRCC-105 8×8 wheeled tank destroyers are strategically distributed among three regiments, with 28 each assigned to the Regimiento de Caballería “Pavía” No. 4, Regimiento de Caballería “Lusitania” No. 8, and Regimiento de Caballería “España” No. 11. The initial deployment of these vehicles was to the Regimiento de Caballería “Lusitania” No. 8, aligning with its role in the Fuerza de Acción Rápida, a unit designed for rapid deployment by air. In parallel with these developments, prototypes of the LT-105 Light Tank, a ‘Direct Fire’ version of the ASCOD IFV, armed with the HITFACT-2 turret and OTO-Melara 105/52 LRF or OTO-Melara 120/45 LRF, have been designed, produced, and tested by the Spanish company Santa Bárbara Sistemas.

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 main mission of the Centauro is to protect other, lighter, elements of the cavalry, using its good power-to-weight ratio, excellent range and cross country ability and computerized fire control system to accomplish this mission. The Centauro platform has been developed into multiple variants to fulfill other combat roles, such as infantry fighting vehicle or self-propelled howitzer.

Spanish Army to Modernize Its Fleet of B1 Centauro 8x8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer
Spanish Army VRCC-105 (B1 Centauro) 8×8 Wheeled Tank Destroyer.

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