TANK DESTROYER In the 1980s, the Italian army had developed tactical and technical requirements for prospective family of tracked and wheeled armored combat vehicles that were planned to start production after decades. It provided for the establishment of four types of such machines: main battle tank Ariete, Dardo tracked infantry fighting vehicles, multi-purpose armored car “Puma” (Puma) with the wheel formula 4×4 and 6×6 wheeled tank destroyer centaur (Centauro) with the wheel formula 8×8.

For the latest requirements formulated at the beginning of 1984 it was Planned to create a highly mobile wheeled combat vehicle with 105-mm rifled gun, NATO standard. She had to have high speed roads to enhance the strategic mobility of troops, a large reserve increased flotation but rugged terrain and a computerized fire control system (FCS), has much in common with the MSA, the company Offeine Galileo for main battle tank Ariete.
The first prototype vehicles were Utes in January and the second in mid-1987 In December, four machines were tested. Just built nine prototypes. One building was used for ballistic tests. At the same time issued pre-production batch of ten cars, which were ready at the end of 1989, etc
The first production of “the centaurs” for the Italian army began in late 1990 and ended in 1991 Originally, the army planned to order a 450, but then the order was reduced to 400 cars.
The series “centaurs” are significantly different from the prototypes. In particular, they have improved service. improved combat pack, changed the configuration of the rear part of the turret, folding ramp in the rear replaced the door became more comfortable with the placement of the crew.
In late 1992, eight “centaurs” with 105-mm guns delivered to Somalia, where for four months, they were, on average, 8400 km without major breakdowns.
Wheeled BMP
Wheeled BMP “centaur” VBC tower Otobreda TS-25
In 1993 the British company BAE Systems RO Defence and created dynamic protection (DZ) ROMOR-A for machines light class and in the same year released the 20 kits Centauro. Ten sets put in Italy, the other in Somalia.
In addition, the consortium IVEKO-Otobreda for “the centaurs” was developed a new passive armour package mounted on the hull and turret of the machine to increase its protection from small arms fire.
The last delivery of wheeled tank destroyers “centaur” in the Italian army was carried out at the end of 1996
In mid-1999 the Ministry of defence of Spain has signed with a consortium IVEKO-Otobreda a contract for 70 million dollars, which was for the supply of 22 “centaurs”, their maintenance and training, New machines arrived in Spain in late 2000, and under the designation VRC-105 they entered service with the 8th light cavalry regiment of the Spanish rapid reaction force. It is not excluded that Spain may in the future order another batch of these machines.
As far as we know, Spanish VRC-105 do not differ from the Italian “centaurs”. However, they are equipped with a set of DZ a Spanish company Santa Barbara, providing additional protection of the frontal projection of the machine from the cumulative projectiles and grenades.
The performance characteristics of the BMP KENTAVR (8×8) with an engine capacity of 520 HP
The performance characteristics of the BMP KENTAVR (8x8) with an engine capacity of 520 HP
In early 2000 the tower of the Centaur with 105 mm cannon mounted on the chassis of the ASCOD infantry fighting vehicles, a joint Austrian-Spanish design, So created a new light tank that successfully passes the test. Then the Italians handed over for temporary use by the U.S. army and sixteen “centaurs” for the development of new organizational structures teams. Twelve of them were in the standard configuration and four in the configuration of machines escort.
The hull and turret fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” are all-welded from steel armor. Provide crew protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. Frontal armor withstands 20-mm armor-piercing shells, the remainder of 12.7-mm bullets. Though not specified. on some ranges.
The driver is placed in the body of the car ahead on the left, to the right of it is the power compartment, separated from the internal space of the fireproof bulkhead of the driver has a hatch. cover that opens to the left. To monitor traffic conditions are three of the periscopic device, the average of which may be replaced by a passive night vision device MES VG/DIL.
Tower installed on the roof, closer to the rear of the machine. The commander is on the left side of the gun, the gunner on the right, charging — ahead and slightly below the gunner.
The commander is equipped with four periscope observation devices. providing visibility to front, sides and back. The commander’s panoramic sight is mounted in front of his hatch. It allows you to conduct all-round observation without turning the head.
The gunner can leave the machine through the charging hatch cover that opens to the rear. On the right side of the tower there are five periscope observation devices that can be used as gunner and loader.
View to the stern and the interior of the troop compartment wheeled BMP
View of the stern and the interior of the troop compartment wheeled BMP “centaur” VBC 25
Tower “Centaur” is made as a single module. It is manufactured by Otobreda at La Spezia and is delivered fully prepared for the installation on the chassis.
The primary weapons of tank destroyer — 105 mm rifled gun Otobreda with a barrel length of 52 caliber, and a large 750-mm back. For shooting you can use all standard 105-mm NATO rounds for the wick of the L7 and M68 guns, including shots with armor-piercing (APFSDS) projectiles. The gun has a vertical wedge with semi-automatic shutter remaining open after extraction cartridges. In addition, it is equipped with multi-chamber muzzle brake, heat-insulating casing and ejection device for purging the barrel and 1акже controlled bend. The trunk is made using the technology of avtomatizovani.
Gun ammunition is forty shots, fourteen of which are located in the tower, and the rest in the machine. Paired 7.62-mm MG 42/59 machine gun is mounted to the left of the cannon. Another Rapoport machine gun on the turret roof as the Zenith. On both sides of the tower mounted on the block of four 76 mm smoke grenade launchers. Shooting grenades is done with a electric trigger.
Drives guns and turrets are electrohydraulic with manual controls. Fragile gun elevation changed from -6° to +15° which is slightly less than the major combat ganks because of the low profile of the tower.
The fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” is equipped with FCS Officine Galileo TURMS (Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular system) is the same. as the main battle tank Ariete. Its main components are daytime panoramic commander’s sight stabilized in two planes line of sight, periscopic combined (day/night) gunner’s sight with stabilized line of sight and integrated laser rangefinder, digital ballistic computer, a set of sensors of the firing conditions, the accounting system of the bending of the trunk and the remote control commander, gunner and loader.
Fig. 1. Wheeled BMP
Fig. 1. Wheeled BMP
Fig. 1. Wheeled BMP “centaur”:
1 — the cannon caliber of 105 mm; 2 — power division; 3 — driver’s hatch; 4 — periscopic devices driver; 5 — tower, 6 — hatch commander’s; 7 — periscopic devices of the commander; 8 — Luke loader; 9 — periscopic devices of the loader and gunner; 10 — machine gun 7.62 mm; 11 — 76-mm smoke grenade launchers; 12 — wheels with bulletproof tires

Wheeled BMP
Wheeled BMP “centaur” VВС 60/70 tower Otobreda T60/70A
The fighter wheeled tanks
The fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” 120/45; visible items with additional armor sewn
View to the stern and the interior of the fighter wheeled tanks
View of the stern and the interior of the fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” 120/45; the picture shows that the case of tank destroyers and infantry fighting vehicles “the centaur” are different
The commander’s sight has a fixed 2.5 – and 10-fold increase. The swing angle of its head mirror changes from -10° to +60°, rotation angle of head of the sight horizontally 360°. For observation and firing by night, the commander has a television monitor which displays image with thermal imaging gunner’s sight.
Mounted on the roof of the turret is the gunner’s sight includes four main modules (stabilized head mirror. optical day channel, laser transceiver and imager) in a single housing. Day channel has a 5-fold increase, and televizionny provides display two fields of view — wide and narrow.
Digital ballistic computer determines the initial settings for firing, controls the action of all subsystems FCS (optical trailer, laser range finder, servo drives}. and sensors of the firing conditions, the embedded systems monitoring of performance of the MSA SITE and training of the crew. It also provides re-configuration of the algorithms of the system from normal mode to the backup in the event of its partial failure
The fire control system included three main sensor of the firing conditions: weather, course angle, and barrel wear.
The gunner as a backup to the installed telescopic sight, Officine Galileo OG-102 with 8-fold magnification and three impact scales, which are switched manually.
Despite the fact that the 105-mm gun, “Centaur” stable, in the main Italian army is firing from it with a short stop.
“Centaur” is set V-obrany six cylinder, four-stroke multi-fuel diesel engine liquid-cooled IVECO VTCA turbo. developing capacity of 520 HP at 2300 rpm./min.
The engine is coupled with a German automatic transmission (automatic transmission) ZF 5 HP 1500, providing five gears forward and two reverse. Transmission, in turn, transmits torque to the transfer case and ZF. Transfer case and automatic transmission are manufactured in Italy in the city of Bolzano under license. The entire power unit on the Centauro can be replaced within 20 minutes.
From the transmission torque transmitted to the differential, which is divided into two streams. To each side of the machine to the wheel motors it is transmitted through cardan shafts, cardan gear and bevel gears.
The fighter wheeled tanks
The fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” 105/52
The fighter wheeled tanks
The fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” 105/52 on the teachings of the Italian army
View to the starboard wheel of the fighter tanks
View of the starboard fighter wheeled tanks “centaur” 120/45; you can clearly see the hatch for the replenishment of ammunition and ejection of spent cartridges in the right side of the turret
Hydropneumatic suspension chassis
Hydropneumatic suspension chassis “Centaur” provides sufficient smoothness, even on a comb
Command post vehicle
Command post vehicle “centaur”
Suspension — hydropneumatic. Are two pairs of rotary front and the last pair of rear wheels, which provides a relatively small turning radius. The rear pair of wheels are driven only at speeds up to 20 km/h.
Central nervous system regulation of the pressure in the bulletproof tires is standard on the machine. The adjustment is carried out from the driver’s seat while driving the car and provides increased maneuverability on rough terrain.
In a niche of the tower is installed overpressure system Sekur, similar applied on the tank Ariete. It prevents the ingestion of infected machines air by creating an excess pressure. Built-in air conditioning system allows the crew to operate normally at ambient temperatures in the range from 30° to +44° C.
The standard equipment of “Centaur” are located in the front winch and fire-prevention systems in law enforcement and military offices.
At the request of the customer on the turret roof can be installed system sensors warning receiver laser range finders or guidance systems of antitank missiles.
In the standard version, the combat weight of the Centaur is 25 tons, with additional modules of armor it increases to 28 m
On the chassis wheel tank destroyer “centaur” developed a whole family of combat and special armored vehicles.
Combat vehicles for the peacekeeping forces and escort
In the composition of Italian contingent in peacekeeping (Bosnia there is a lot of “centaurs”. These machines are distinguished by the presence of the package hinged armor protection, and set PA the turret roof is a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun MG 42/59 from small arms fire to the right and left covered with armored shields.
The last batch of “centaurs” in the amount of 150 cars of the 400 delivered to the Italian army, equipped for use as vehicles in protection. The main difference is the location of the four Marines engaged in ingress and egress through the aft door. To do this, had to remove two boeukladki 105-mm rounds, reducing them to sixteen, fourteen of which are in the tower and two in the hull. The seats are both boxes with spare parts.
In the troop compartment the body of the machine inside covered with a material such as Kevlar, to reduce the likelihood of their destruction breakaway pieces of armor. The modified air conditioning system and protection against weapons of mass destruction, to ensure the supply of purified or cooled air increased the crew.
“Centaur” with a 60-mm gun
New tower Otobreda T60/70A with the 60-mm cannon in the complex of the armament was mounted for testing on the latest version of the chassis “Centaur”. It is somewhat longer and wider than standard and has a wheelbase of 1,605×1,6×1,6 m. Machine with a combat weight of 24 tons, accommodates six troops. While its crew is three persons.
This same chassis is used for infantry fighting vehicles “centaur” VBC with a 25-mm automatic cannon.
Infantry fighting vehicle “centaur” /VS (8×8)
A prototype of wheeled infantry fighting vehicles “centaur” VBC was released in early 1996 and in June it was shown at the international exhibition of arms Eurosatory in Paris. This machine was developed in the framework of the initiative of the project, but in accordance with the requirements of the Italian army on the creation of infantry fighting vehicles, capable of functioning in conjunction with wheeled tank destroyers “Gangaur”.
In the beginning of 1999, the Italian army entered into with the company IVECO-Otobreda the contract for the design, development and construction of three prototypes of this BMP it installed the same Otobreda twin tower TS-25 with 25-mm automatic cannon Oerlikon Cotraves KVA and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun, and Dardo HITFIST tracked infantry fighting vehicles. The tower is located in the center of the troop compartment is at the rear of the machine body. It can accommodate up to eight infantrymen, their embarkation and disembarkation are made through the wide flip-down ramp with hydraulic drive to the rear of the machine. Rail equipped door in case there is no way to discard. Small arms assault has five loopholes with periscope observation devices, two on each side and one in the left of the ramp.
Standard equipment of the machine includes a mounted package additional armor for improved protection against small arms fire, a power driven rotatable wheels with bulletproof tires (two pairs of front and rear pair), the Central control system of tire pressure, the system of protection against weapons of mass destruction, air-conditioning, laser-warning and fire-fighting equipment.
In the armoured personnel carrier with a turret with a 12.7-mm and coaxial with it 7.62-mm machine guns. In this case, its crew consists of two people (commander, gunner and driver), and the troop compartment can accommodate up to ten infantrymen.
According to representatives of the consortium IVECO-Otobreda, the machine can be equipped with more powerful diesel engines and power pack add-on armor. Then its combat weight is 28 t
In 2003 at the exhibition IDEX-03 in Abu Dhabi has shown a wheeled tank destroyer. As a primary weapon it uses a 120-mm Otobreda smoothbore 120/45 gun with a barrel length of 45 calibers and a short back. In contrast to the predecessor with 105-mm gun, on the turret roof of the new machine is equipped with two anti-aircraft machine gun, and one 12.7 mm — with remote control, FCS remains the same. When using the machine care it can accommodate four of infantry, and ammunition will be reduced to eleven shots.
In addition, in Italy on the chassis of the “Centaur” (8×8) has been created and developed: mortar carrier; command post vehicle; armoured repair and recovery vehicle; armoured ambulance; a floating armored personnel carrier, anti-aircraft artillery complex; 155-mm self-propelled howitzer and the bridge layer.
Overall chassis wheeled tank destroyer “centaur” (8×8) was successful, which allowed to create on its basis a whole range of different purpose armored vehicles. This increases the standardization of equipment in parts and joints, facilitates the supply, training and repair.
S. SUVOROV, candidate of military Sciences

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