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Centauro B1

Tank destroyer

Centauro B1

The Centauro B1 tank destroyer has the firepower of the ageing Leopard 1 MBT



Entered service 1991
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 24 t
Length (gun forward) 8.55 m
Hull length 7.4 m
Width 3.1 m
Height 2.7 m
Armament
Main gun 105-mm rifled gun
Machine guns 2 x 7.62-mm
Elevation range - 6 to + 45 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 3 000 rounds
Mobility
Engine Iveco MTCA diesel
Engine power 520 hp
Maximum road speed 100 km/h
Range 800 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.55 m
Trench 1.5 m
Fording up to 1.5 m

 

   The Centauro B1 tank destroyer was developed by Fiat and OTO Melara in response to the Italian Army requirement for a mobile tank destroyer. This vehicle has the firepower comparable to the Leopard 1 main battle tank, which was then in service with Italy. Production of the Centauro B1 began in 1990 and it entered service with the Italian Army in 1991. In 1996 the last of 400 Centauro tank destroyers was delivered. The only export operator is Spain which ordered 84 vehicles. It is worth mentioning that from 2000 to 2002 the US Army leased 16 Centauros. These were assigned to form the first crews for the Stryker MGS and to acquire more experience with wheeled armored fire support vehicles.

   This vehicle was designed to carry out tactical reconnaissance, fire support and territorial defense tasks. During numerous peacekeeping missions Centauro tank destroyers have been used to escort convoys and for road patrol missions.

   The Centauro B1 is armed with a fully-stabilized 105-mm high-velocity rifled gun, developed by OTO Melara. It is compatible with all standard NATO 105-mm ammunition. It has an effective range of 3000 m and can be used to engage main battle tanks or other armored vehicles. This tank destroyer has a very effective muzzle brake, which reduces recoil force by about 40%. This allowing this gun to be used on a wheeled chassis. 40 rounds for the main gun are carried inside the vehicle. 14 of them are carried in the turret, while the rest are stored in the hull.

   Fire control system of the Centauro B1 is similar to that of the Ariete main battle tank. This tank destroyer can engage a target 25 - 35 seconds after spotting it.

   Secondary armament consists of two 7.62-mm machine guns. One of them is coaxially mounted with the main gun and the other is located on top of the turret roof.

   This tank destroyer has a welded hull and turret. In standard configuration front arc of the Centauro is protected against 20-mm rounds. All round protection is against 12.7-mm rounds and artillery shell fragments. Up to three tons of add-on passive or explosive reactive armor can be fitted. Vehicle is equipped with an NBC protection system and laser warning receiver.

   Vehicle has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, driver and loader.

   The Centauro B1 tank destroyer is powered by Iveco MTCA turbocharged diesel engine, developing 520 horsepower. Engine is located at the front. Steering is provided on the first and second axles and at slow speed with also the fourth axle. Vehicle is equipped with run-flat tyres and fitted with central tyre inflation system. The Centauro B1 is not amphibious.

 

Variants

 

   Centauro 120-mm tank destroyer, fitted with new turret and 120-mm smoothbore gun. It makes the Centauro the first wheeled armored fighting vehicle with the same firepower as the latest generation main battle tanks. This variant is compatible with all standard NATO 120-mm ammunition. The new tank destroyer is fitted with composite add-on armor. It's front arc provides protection against 40-mm armor-piercing rounds. This fire support vehicle is in service with Oman;

   VBM Freccia infantry fighting vehicle;

   Porcupine prototype 155-mm self-propelled howitzer;

   Self-propelled 76-mm anti-aircraft gun, fitted with Draco turret. It is armed with a rapid firing naval gun.

 

Video of the Centauro B1 tank destroyer

 
Centauro B1

Centauro B1

Centauro B1

Centauro B1

Centauro B1

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