The Italian Centauro II is considered the world’s leading 8 by 8 wheeled armored military vehicle today, thanks to its strong firepower, good armor, and high maneuverability.
The Centauro II was developed and is produced by the Italian Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium. The vehicle was unveiled in June 2016 during the defense exhibition Eurosatory in Paris, France. The Centauro II represents the logical evolution, being armed with a third-generation 120 mm gun, with an integrated muzzle brake and semi-automatic loading system. The weapon system provides firepower equivalent to that of most modern main battle tanks, and is capable of firing all the latest generations of 120 mm, NATO APFSDS, and multi-role MP munitions.
Centauro II marks a major step forward compared to the previous Centauro 1, in terms of firepower, battlefield observation capability, mobility, shooting conduct, communication as well as increased crew protection. Equipped with a modern powerpack of over 700HP and an H-transmission, typical of 8 by 8 armored vehicles, the new platform uses an all-digital architecture, and a new generation turret with a 120mm cannon and Command and Control Communication systems. The result is an innovative wheeled armored platform capable of operating in every scenario: from national security missions to peacekeeping and support operations including all interventions involving the Italian Armed Forces.
As in the original, the new vehicle has a shallow glacis plate and angled surfaces for basic ballistics protection. The turret sets over the middle-rear of the vehicle for proper balance of the system, which results in the engine being situated at front-right in the hull. The driver’s position is at front-left with a commander and gunner situated in the powered, 360-degree, fully-enclosed traversing turret. There is one large door located at the rear of the hull.
A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the left side of the main armament. Mounted on either side of the turret is a bank of four electrically operated 81 mm smoke grenade dischargers, that 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 a 7.62 mm or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, integrated with the firing system, allowing the loader to undertake battlefield surveillance from a protected position.
The Centauro II is motorized with an Iveco Vector 8V Euro III Diesel engine developing 720 hp. The Centauro II can run at a maximum road speed of 105 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km. The vehilce can negotiate a gradient of 60%, side slopes of 30%, and a 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.