The Centauro family of wheeled armoured fighting vehicles has been developed by Consorzio Iveco Fiat - Otobreda, based in Rome. Iveco Fiat is responsible for the vehicle and powerpack development and Otobreda developed the turrets and weapon systems. Centauro entered production in 1991 and is in service with the Italian Army. The Spanish Army has ordered 22 Centauro vehicles in the armoured reconnaissance configuration, with additional reactive armour package on the frontal arc. Deliveries began in October 2000.
The Centauro family of 8x8 vehicles consists of the Reconnaissance Antitank Vehicle, the VBC Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the Armoured Personnel Carrier, all with a common chassis. Centauro is capable of firing while stationary or on the move, against moving or stationary targets by day or night.
The Centauro has an all welded steel armour hull, which provides protection against 12.7 mm ammunition and shell fragments. Enhanced armour protection over the frontal arc provides protection against 20 mm ammunition.
A nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) warfare protection system is integrated into the vehicles' air conditioning system. A laser warning receiver can be installed on the vehicle.
The Iveco 6V turbo-charged after-cooled diesel engine is rated at 382 kW (1,865 Nm). The automatic transmission system designed by ZF, and manufactured under license by Iveco Fiat, has 5 forward and 2 reverse gears. There are 8 wheels each with independent suspension and disk type brakes. The steering is on the first, second and fourth axle. The tyres are 14.00 - 20, run flat tyres fitted with Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS).
All variants of the vehicle provide top speeds in excess of 100 km/hour. The vehicles can negotiate gradients up to 60 %, fording depth of 1.5 m without preparation, and have a turning radius of 9 m.
The Centauro Reconnaissance Antitank Vehicle has a crew of four (commander, gunner, loader and driver) and is equipped with an Otobreda 105 mm/52 calibre gun. The low recoil force rifled gun fires standard NATO ammunition including APFSDS (armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) rounds. The gun is equipped with a thermal sleeve, integrated fume extractor and muzzle reference system. 14 rounds of 105 mm ammunition are carried in the turret and 26 rounds are stored in the hull. An alternative configuration, the 8x8 T, replaces these 26 rounds of ammunition with space for four combat troops.
Two 7.62 mm machine guns are mounted on the turret, one co-axial with the main gun. A four-barrel smoke grenade launcher is mounted on each side of the turret.
The fire control system is the Officine Galileo TURMS, also fitted on the Ariete main battle tank, which includes a digital ballistic computer. The gunner's station is fitted with a stabilised sight with a thermal imager and laser rangefinder. The commander's station is equipped with a panoramic stabilised sight, an image intensifying night sight and a monitor displaying the image from the gunner's thermal sight.
VBC INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE
The Centauro 8x8 VBC infantry fighting vehicle carries a crew of three - commander, gunner, driver plus 6 to 8 troops. The main gun is the Oerlikon KBA 25 mm automatic cannon and carries 200 rounds of 25 mm ammunition. The vehicle can be armed with two launchers for TOW anti-tank guided weapons, eight 80 mm smoke grenade launchers and two 7.62 mm NATO machine guns. The fire control system is the same as for the reconnaissance/anti-tank version. However, the commander does not have a monitor displaying the gunner's thermal sight.
Three prototypes of this version have been delivered to the Italian Army, which has a requirement for 240 vehicles.
ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER
The Centauro Armoured Personnel Carrier carries a crew of three - commander, gunner and driver plus 8 troops. The main weapon is the Oerlikon KBA 25 mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm NATO machine gun is also fitted. Smoke grenade launchers are optional, and a choice of gunner's/commander's sights is available.