The Centauro II MGS (Main Gun System) 120 mm/105 mm is a modernized version of the Centauro 1 8×8 anti-tank wheeled armoured vehicle. The Centauro 2 was presented for the first time to the public during the defense exhibition Eurosatory in June 2016. it is the first 8×8 wheeled anti-tank 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 APFSDS and multi-role MP munitions.
The main armament of the Centauro 2 MGS consists of one 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. 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 is equipped with an automatic loading system with 6 rounds ready to fire, while being able also to undertake manual loading operations, as back-up, or other emergency operations. Turret traverse and weapon elevation are electro-hydraulic with manual controls for emergency use with elevation being from -7 to +16º. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the left side of the main armament. Mounted either side of the turret is a bank of four electrically operated 81 mm smoke grenade dischargers which fire over the frontal arc of the vehicle. At Eurosatory 2016, the Centauro was also fitted with a remote-operated HITROLE Light turret armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun with the possibility of using 7.62 or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, integrated with the firing system, allowing the loader to undertake battlefield surveillance from a protected position.
Design and protection
The hull and turret of the Centauro are of all-welded steel armour construction. The ballistic armour, protection levels are significantly higher than the previous generation of Centauro vehicle, with a completely rearranged hull chassis and turret design, integrated 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. The Centauro II has a crew of four with the driver seats at the front of the hull offset to the left with the power pack to his right. The turret is mounted on the roof of the hull slightly to the rear of the vehicle’s centerline, with the commander on the left, gunner on the right and loader forward and below the gunner. There is one large door located at the rear of the hull.
The Centauro II MGS is motorized with an Iveco Vector 8V Euro III Diesel engine developing 720 hp. coupled to an automatic gearbox with 7 forward and 1 reverse speeds. 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 and to the associated modernisation of the transmission, braking system and control electronics. Suspension is of the hydro-pneumatic type with powered steering on the front four and last two road wheels. 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 can run at a maximum road speed of 105 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km. The Centauro II can negotiate a gradient of 60%, side slopes of 30% and fording depth of 1.5 m without preparation. It has an angle of approach and departure of 40° and can cross natural or man-made obstacles up to 0.6 m high, and trenches 2 m wide.
Standard equipment of the Centauro II MGS includes radio system, digital intercom, integrated Battle Management System (BMS) and anti RC-IED (Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device) capable of defeating remote controlled improvised explosive devices. 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. Crew safety has also been further increased, with partitioning of stand-by ammunition and stores within the hull, in addition to NBC, fire-fighting and anti-explosions protection systems. The turret is also equipped with new anti-mine seats. An integrated air conditioning system is installed allowing the crew to operate the vehicle with the outside temperature ranging from – 30° to + 44º C.