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Centauro II, the thoroughbred 120 mm tank destroyer is arriving in Brazil to renew the Army's arsenal

16 May 2024 to 01: 31
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Centauro II, the thoroughbred 120 mm tank destroyer is arriving in Brazil to renew the Army's arsenal
Photo: Playback/Youtube

New armored tank destroyer from Italy will be purchased by the Brazilian army. The Centauro II armored vehicle in Brazil should be delivered later this year.

The first unit of the Centauro II armored vehicle, purchased by the Brazilian army last year, is about to be shipped to Brazil. In total, 98 units of the armored tank destroyer were ordered, which are being assembled in Italy. In 2024, two units will be delivered: the first should be shipped in the coming weeks, while the second, currently in the testing phase in Italy, should be delivered in the second half of the year.

More than 200 Centauro II units could arrive this year in Brazil

In total, the army's order for armored tank destroyers could be increased to up to 221 units. This first unit of the Centauro II armored vehicle in Brazil does not have some systems, but these will be installed later.

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The Centauro II is a modern tank fighter type armored vehicle with 8×8 traction, equipped with a 120MM Oto Melara tower. Being the first armored tank destroyer with 8×8 traction, this new version, which is an evolution of the Centauro B1, has been completely redesigned to resist improvised explosive devices.

The shell of the Centauro II armored vehicle in Brazil is manufactured from high-strength monocoque ballistic steel with a different geometry. Its V-shaped bottom and the elimination of arches in the wheel arches and fenders help dissipate the energy of a possible Land Mine that could be detonated underneath the vehicle.

The armored tank destroyer is equipped with a 8 horsepower FPT Vector V720 Diesel engine. Being able to reach between 40 and 80 km/h in rugged terrain, and up to 110 km/h on structured roads, the Centauro II armored vehicle in Brazil weighs 32 tons, with an operational range of 800 km.

Now, Brazil joins Italy as operator of the vehicle, and will be the first international operator of the Centauro II armored tank destroyer.

Find out how the armored tank destroyer came about

During the Cold War, the Italian Army (IS) maintained its main combat units in the north of the country, as a way of containing an eventual invasion by Soviet forces from Eastern European countries. The increase in the movement of Soviet Navy assets in the Mediterranean Sea region, however, exposed a major weakness represented by the possibility of an amphibious landing to the south.

As a result, in the 1980s, requirements were presented for a vehicle that combined the firepower and lethality of the IS main combat vehicle, at the time the Leopard 1, with strategic mobility that allowed rapid movement along the road network. and that could provide initial combat to any threat until the arrival of heavy forces.

After several proposals and tests, in 1987, the Iveco Consortium – OTO Melara (CIO) presented the definitive version of the Centauro, a modern armored tank destroyer on wheels, with 8×8 traction, weighing 24 tons. The name Centauro was adopted by IS in 1989, in a total of 400 units.

The first version of the armored tank destroyer

The first version was equipped with a 520 HP engine and equipped with a 105 mm OTO Melara 52/105 cannon.

The Centauro armored cannon could fire all types of NATO standard ammunition, both kinetic and APFSDS-T (armor piercing, finstabilized, discarding sabot-tracer), regarding chemicals, such as HEAT and HESH, with 14 cartridges ready for use and another 26 in the chassis.

The tube was covered by a thermal sleeve, to avoid distortions, and by an extractor to prevent smoke from entering the fighting compartment after firing, intoxicating the crew.

Secondary armament consisted of three MG42 machine guns, in caliber 7,62x51mm, one coaxial to the cannon and the others on anti-aircraft mounts on the roof, operated by the vehicle commander and the loader.

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