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B1 Centauro tank destroyer

The Centauro B1 tank destroyer was designed to carry out tactical reconnaissance and territorial defence tasks. The main mission of the Centauro heavy armored car is the protection of lighter vehicles and units of the Cavalry. It is not a reconnaissance vehicle, but a tank destroyer/wheeled tank. The cavalry unit is equipped with this vehicle which is fitted with a 105 mm high-pressure gyrostabilised gun and associated automated fire control system. It has high road mobility, a good power to weight ratio, a long range and good cross-country mobility. The Centauro carries a fully armed and equipped crew of 2 to 4 men, which makes it extremely flexible to use, especially in peacekeeping operations. Vehicles in the Centauro family have a basic protection guaranteed to withstand 14.5 mm bullets (25 mm on the front section). This can be increased to 30 mm by bolting on additional protection. The Centauro was deployed in Somalia and former Yugoslavia and has proved its toughness and the suitability of its gun system for use in peacekeeping operations as well as in the reconnaissance tasks for which it was designed and developed. Because of their characteristics, these tanks have been used to escort motor convoys, for wide area control and for road patrols, and have proven rapid intervention capability in unforeseen crises.

In order to have a troop carrier with mobility and protection specifications similar to those of the Centauro tank, development has begun on a family of medium tanks whose main characteristic is a high degree of interoperability with other tanks. The battlefield version (VBC 8 x 8) already exists in prototype. This will carry 7 fully equipped men in addition to the tank commander and the pilot and may be armed with a range of equipment such as a 12.7 mm machine gun and a 25 or 60 mm cannon, plus two missile launchers. Bearing in mind Italy’s recent experience in Somalia and Bosnia, a possible use has emerged for short-range heavy automatic armaments against interposing forces rather than a range of 400-500 m, as in a cold-war scenario.


Weight21 t approximately
Crew4 men
Main armamentgun from 105 striped milimeter
Secondary armamentn. 2 7.62 machine-guns cal. milimeter
Apparatuses of trackingdiurno/notturni
Calculating of shootingdigitalis
Protectionballistics and NBC
Motorsupercharged, installed diesel engine front, with power of 520 HP
Transmissionhydromechanical with retarder secondary
Suspensionsindependent type Mc Pherson
Traction8 x 8
Steeringon three axes

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Wednesday, September 29, 1999 10:41:35 AM