According to a press release from Leonardo, the Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium has signed a contract with the Italian Ministry of Defence to supply 28 Centauro II vehicles, along with ten years of integrated logistic support.

This delivery, say the companies, marks the fulfilment of the Italian Army’s total requirement of 150 units.

The Centauro II is described as fully operational and represents the latest in military vehicle technology.

It is said to offer enhanced performance, engagement capability, mobility, interconnection, and ergonomics, along with superior crew protection. The vehicle is powered by a new 720hp engine and features the distinctive H-drive scheme of the 8×8 Centauro family.

Key features of the Centauro II include a fully digital architecture, a next-generation HITFACT turret equipped with a 120mm gun, and advanced Command and Control Communication systems.

These innovations, according to the press release, make the Centauro II the most advanced and interoperable vehicle currently in service with the Italian Army.

The Centauro II is designed to operate in a wide range of scenarios, from national security missions to peacekeeping and support operations, showcasing its versatility and the Italian Armed Forces’ commitment to maintaining cutting-edge defence capabilities.


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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Micki
Micki (@guest_831464)
17 days ago

How many of them ?, of course much more than the ridiculous 148 Challengers of the British army.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_831500)
17 days ago
Reply to  Micki

Are they tanks then?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831537)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

No. Where these would have been really useful, if General Carter had bothered to look, was in the Strike Brigade concept that he masterminded, that resulted in the elimination of one Armoured Infantry Brigade and the loss of all the IFVs in the two that survive. He wanted 4 Regiments of Ajax Scout to be in “Medium Armour” Regiments, 2 per Strike Bde, which at the same time would have denied Ajax Scout to the Armoured Brigades, the whole original army requirement for their purchase in replacing CVRT. That all that came to nothing and is now superseded with a… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_831540)
17 days ago

Mmm he was comparing the vehicles to CR 3 I only asked😉😀

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831545)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

👍 mate.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831554)
17 days ago

I got a chance to see the Ajax up close..last weekend..very impressive vehicle..very large when sat next to a warrior….insane when compared to the size of a CVRT.

But it seemed no more noisy than a warrior..and looked quite agile..not CVRT agile though….it does look like a medium tank not a recce vehicle.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831580)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Where was that, if you can say?
Yes, it looks enormous!

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831590)
17 days ago

Well the British army are obviously really now happy with it as they had had both Ajax and Aries..running around doing displays at tankfest..so go to watch it run around the Arena as well as look all around it when it was parked up…that 40mm CT cannon is a big main armament…I was looking up some of the released fire testing and it’s one hell of a gun. 1600ms on the APDS at 1500meters…apparently it will go through 14cm of RHA at 1500meters…which means everything other than the front of an MBT.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831618)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I am concerned at the signature of Ajax. We have lost the medium tank terminology, but I wouldn’t think a 40mm cannon would be definitive of a medium tank.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831625)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Signature wise, capability drop three is “meant” to deliver a low signature vehicle…but you’re never hiding it behind a bush …medium tank has always been a bit of an iffy title..some people have described any MBT weighting in at the 40-50 ton mark as a medium tank…I’m being a bit flipant and using a WW2 definition..which Ajax fits into…its an impressive looking vehicle.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831716)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan. I cannot conceive of a recce vehicle being called a tank, irrespective of its weight – but that is not true of the popular media who think anything with tracks, a turret and a gun barrel is a tank! Of course a tank does a different job to a recce vehicle – its an offensive AFV with its use of its primary weapon system to degrade or destroy enemy armour being its raison d’etre. In contrast, a recce vehicle gains raw information about the enemy, processes it and then transmits it to decision-makers in the command chain –… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831756)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Indeed, I’m not really sure putting a 40mm on your recce vehicle is the way forward..sort of muddies the water…bit like an old WW2 Chaffee..far to much gun for a recce vehicle…anything that may make your recce stay and fight is bad and anything that adds weight is bad…but then I think the army got very confused on what it wanted Ajax to do..and at first it was not just recce but to provide direct fire support. As far as I’m aware drop three is essentially the standard deployable vehicle, with full protection and signature reduction package..essentially all the 50+… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831846)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

WW2 Chaffee! That’s going back a bit. Is it a relevant comparator? We had a 30mm cannon on recce wagons for decades. The L21A1 Rarden 30mm was designed in 1966 and mass produced from 1970 – fitted to the Fox armoured car and Scimitar of course. Mostly calibres increase over time, tank cannons being a particularly good example. So not a massive surprise to see that the army wanted something more effective at range than the tired old 30mm, ie a 40mm. They really had to be able to destroy enemy recce convincingly at range if ordered to do so,… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831859)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham..when Ajax was ordered it was definitely order as a turreted reconnaissance and strike vehicle, with ares being ordered as a reconnaissance and APC vehicle…so ever since the order for Ajax was placed it was also considered a strike vehicle..which is a bit confusing…with ares being an equally confused recce and APC I think Chaffee is a good discussion point as recce is still recce..if you look at the time the British army was even removing turrets from a lot of its 37mm armed recce vehicles..as they did not even want that and losing the turrets made the vehicles… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_831905)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I think something that needs to be remembered is that the FR regiments where never pure scouts. While the British Army has done relatively stealthy recce, as Graham says, compared to the Americans, there’s always been an element of screening and having to fight and defeat the enemy recce screen that’s been inherent in the role. Worth remembering that while some Stuarts did loose their turrets in North West Europe, formation Recce units in General remained armed with turreted armoured cars, and armament increased on more than a few of them (eg the AEC going from a 2lber to a… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831978)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

GDUK was awarded the contract to build what had been called FRES SV, then SV (Scout) in March 2010. The term ‘Strike’ was not used. It was not until Army 2020 Refine work which was packaged into SDSR 2015 which was published on 23 Nov 2015 that the Strike concept & Orbat was formally unveiled – so I am puzzled as to why anyone would be calling Ajax a Strike vehicle in 2010, over 5 years earlier. I am not so confused about ARES being described variously as a APC with a recce role, as it can carry a dismount… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_833108)
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Personally I think elements of Booker are a mistake. Specifically the use of a 105mm rifled gun. As this adds another calibre of ammunition to the logistic train. Though I guess with the US Army being so big, they don’t care. For this type of infantry support vehicle, I feel the CV90 120, would have been the better option. As the Ruag L50 120mm smoothbore gun uses the same NATO standard 120mm tank gun ammunition. Therefore will have ammunition commonality with other NATO partners. As an expeditionary vehicle, that is expected to be air lifted to hotspots by C5 and… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833992)
8 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I agree that the US Army will not have a problem establishing a 105mm supply chain for M10 Booker, any more than the UK had no difficulty establishing a supply chain for ammunition for our rifled 120mm tank cannons. The US would have a problem buying CV90 (with 120mm) as it is not American and they buy very little that is foreign. I don’t know the penetrative performance of the M35 tank gun, so can’t say if it could defeat the frontal armour of any T-series tanks, such as export T-72s, whether up-armoured or not. I do not see the… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_834002)
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Would the M35 not be comparable to the L7 and M68. The Stryker AGS which uses the L7 barrel with the M68 breech block and recoil system. The M68 was used against “representative” targets at Aberdeen proving ground. That included a number of acquired T72s. So I’d happily say the 105 is adequate at punching a round through the upper glacis of a T72 minus the ERA. But with ERA it’s debatable. With regards to an infantry support tank/vehicle. I can see the reasons for it, I’m just not sure they chose the right calibre. I would have thought the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834170)
7 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Strike Brigades (historical). In the short-lived era of the Strike brigades, our Infantry in MIVs (Boxer) would have had Ajax providing their direct fire support with 40mm cannons! But of course it was hoped/expected that they would not encounter tanks en masse, that being the remit for the armoured brigades. In 3 Div. Now of course our mechanised infantry (in Boxer APCs) are to be in the two armoured brigades as some clever person decided to bin IFVs – and they have mutual support from CR2/CR3. So they don’t need anything else. In 1 Div. It is a different story… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Graham Moore
Dern
Dern (@guest_834674)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I don’t think it’s not expected that 1 Div would encounter enemy tanks, if we thought that we wouldn’t retain Jav at Battalion Level, and NLAW at section level…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834937)
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, of course. Maybe I should have said ‘less likely to encounter enemy tanks’.

Dern
Dern (@guest_834673)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They shouldn’t have a problem establishing an ammunition supply for Booker either way, 105x617mm is a NATO standard tank round, that is in use by (amoungst others) older Merkava and K1 variants, the Striker MGS, the M60 Patton, Leopard 1, and (ironically enough) the B1 version of the Centauro.

Dern
Dern (@guest_831906)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

One of the reasons that Ajax has such a big turret ring is because there was talk of a fire support variant of Ajax, so big turret ring needed for a big gun, like on M10. Maybe that’s where the original concept of Ajax as a “strike vehicle” comes from?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832051)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Very interesting point.

Sorry to use Wiki here for an unconfirmed comment: “There was a possibility for a third Block of vehicles encompassing a “Direct Fire” vehicle with a 120 mm main gun, “Manoeuvre Support”, and a “Joint Fires” variant equipped to succeed the FV102 Striker in the anti-tank role. However, in September 2014, Block 3 vehicles were dropped and the Ministry of Defence had “no plans” to order any Block 2 vehicles”.

Dern
Dern (@guest_832179)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

If you can naviage the poor formatting Think Defence has the same claim in his article on Ajax, so I’m inclined to believe it, even if it’s just a little side tangent.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832231)
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks mate. As ever, a comprehensive (in scope and numbers) new AFV programme is pared back to save costs.

It is of course the incomplete fielding of Warrior back in the day which left us with so many FV430s (about 900 – 1,000 at one time, I think) running on into and beyond their 60th year of service. This is not seen in the other services: Type 23 is not running in parallel in service with a bunch of ancient Leander class frigates!

Dern
Dern (@guest_831760)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ahem:
https ://upload.wikimedia. org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Yuma_Proving_Ground%2C_Arizona_%2842188342504%29.jpg

As ever remove spaces… but: It’s a tank. That does Recce.
It uses it’s primary weapon system to degrade and destroy enemy armour, but it’s also a recconaissance vehicle.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831877)
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I couldn’t find the photo even with removing spaces…but the Americans (and others) have always done recce rather differently to our traditional approach ie recce by fighting rather than recce by stealth.

Dern
Dern (@guest_831899)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s a M551 Sheridan, which is, by any standard, a Tank, but also a recce asset.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832043)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks. Not too successful by some accounts – poor survivability and reliability. But certainly it was a light tank/recce vehicle.
The choice of a 152mm gun was interesting! Presumably the Shillelagh ATGM was deemed essential for the role and needed a ‘launcher’.

Dern
Dern (@guest_832180)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think that was it, I don’t think the gun was high velocity enough to be used in an anti armour role, and by all accounts firing it was a minor emotinal event for the crew. But the same tank with a 105 or 90mm and a more mature techincal base I think would have had been a pretty good vehicle IMO.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_834004)
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Part of the original concept was that it would support the US Army’s airborne division. I think it was supposed to be air droppable from a Herc. From all accounts it was pretty hopeless when used in anger. The main gun was not very accurate firing standard ammo. Plus the wire guided ATGM meant the tank had to be stationary to guide the missile into the target, ie No shoot and scoot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834175)
7 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

M551 Sheridan/Shillelagh ISD 1967 under-performed in Vietnam for those reasons, had weak armour and was unreliable – it started to be phased out from 1979.

To be fair, shoot and scoot ATGM from that era was unknown, I think.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_834596)
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Trying to think what the first shoot and scoot ATGM was? I have a feeling for us it was Javelin. Everything prior (SS/AS12, Milan, TOW, Swingfire and Hellfire 1) was either wire or laser guided. Hellfire 2 had a degree of shoot and scoot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834936)
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I am sure you are right.

Rgh
Rgh (@guest_832779)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ooooh I dunno. Matilda, Crusader and chums got by with the 2 pounder 40 mm for a while. (Sorry, couldn’t resist it.)

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832920)
12 days ago
Reply to  Rgh

That winds the clock back a bit! Amazing how lightly armed some of those old tanks were.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834186)
7 days ago
Reply to  Rgh

I prefer the Quarter-Pounder!

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_831653)
17 days ago

It is an interesting what could have been,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831617)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

I call them TDs – Tank Destroyers. Some are calling them ‘anti-tank systems’

Chris Elgenia
Chris Elgenia (@guest_831503)
17 days ago
Reply to  Micki

Reading the article it mentions 150 units in total….to my CSE maths, thats not the ‘much more than the ridiculous 148 challengers’!

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_831507)
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Elgenia

They still have the Ariete that is about to be upgraded in 90+35 option.
And the 105mm Centauro 1 is still in service albeit 141 of 400 were exported to Jordanian Army.
And at least they build an IFV variant the Freccia.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_831521)
17 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Of course nothing of this matters if there are no defences against drones.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831536)
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Elgenia

But these are not tanks, they are tank destroyers..not the same thing at all.

Dern
Dern (@guest_831597)
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Elgenia

They have Ariete, and are buying Leopard. Maybe professionals know something internet commentators don’t…

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831535)
17 days ago
Reply to  Micki

These are not tanks they are tank destroyers…a concept in which a vehicle is created that can kill a tank but does not have the armour to act as a tank ( break through and exploit). ..the Italian army MBT situation is actually worse the the British army by a long way Its MBT is the Ariete..the lightest of all western MBTs …it’s considered by far the worst armoured with frontal armour that is not considered capable of protecting against a 120mm or 125mm antitank round at any range…it’s side armour is not considered capable of protecting against any threats.… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_831547)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Interesting post 🍺

Mark
Mark (@guest_831563)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

And the suggested deal for Leo 2s has fallen through over workshare disagreements, so their plans are back in “who knows”…

Dern
Dern (@guest_831599)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

A few things to ad onto this though: 1) Centauro is listed as a Tank Destroyer, but it’s doctrinally more of a “rapid reaction direct fire support vehicle.” Designed to move by road faster than tanks, rather than necessarily hunt Tanks (note unlike a traditional tank destroyer it has a slightly lighter gun than it’s tank counterpart, if it genuienly was a modern TD it would probably be ATGM armed). Italy is upgrading some of it’s Ariete’s that’s true, and the poor tank is much maligned, however they are also buying a batch of Leopard 2’s starting in 2027. The… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831619)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern..it looks like the Italians will not be getting leopard 2…there was meant to be a deal and tec transfer between Leonardo and KNDS for a load of Italian kit to go into the tanks…basically Leonardo and KNDS have had one massive falling out. flushing a lot of potential joint projects down the toilet and Leonardo becoming a major KNDS shareholder…basically without the Italian input..Italy are walking way from leopard 2..it’s just not official yet as it has to go through the Italian parliament. . Re the Gun the Centuro 2 has a lot better gun than the 1… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_831743)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I don’t see the parliament u-turning on Leopard, I think they’ll just end up caving to KNDS and buying unmodified Leopards, but time will tell. The thing is the L55 is pretty much standard on all MBT’s coming out now, minus M1 Abrams, and while the 120/45 can withstand a higher chamber pressure, in practice, with a shorter barrel, and the same ammunition I don’t think it actually achieves the pressure it is designed for. Point being, normally a Tank Destroyer is supposed to have a better gun than most tanks. (Think M10/M18 with 76mm while M4 had 75, M36… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831751)
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I wonder if we could swap some old challenger 2s for Centauro…after all we will have a load of spares lying around….Italy is still looking to replace all its MBTs with the main ground combat system in 2035..so anything it buys now is an interim with a decade life span…bit tongue in cheek but all Italy really wants is a quick up the numbers for this decade solution…

Dern
Dern (@guest_831897)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Would be nice, but also would be shocked if it happened.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_832017)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Parliament is closely linked to the industry. Leonardo is now in talks with Rheinmetall. I don’t see the point of a tank, they should go for Lynx variations. Missile launcher, combat, recon with drones, autonomous Lynx, IFV Lynx.

Last edited 15 days ago by AlexS
Dern
Dern (@guest_832372)
14 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Thanks for reminding me that you exist to be wrong. Bore off and find someone who gives a f*ck about your sh*tty opinions.

Or, maybe learn to listen to people who actually know what they’re talking about (but that would require you to get over your dunning kruger complex).

Last edited 14 days ago by Dern
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_831616)
17 days ago
Reply to  Micki

It’s in the article. 150 is only two more than 148.
But it is used in addition to the C1 Ariete MBT, it has to be said.
200 Ariete were built, of which some 125 are being upgraded.

Last edited 17 days ago by Graham Moore
Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831752)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Also Italy are looking for a quick upgrade of another 150 MBTs…they had gone for leopard 2 but that’s looking iffy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831533)
17 days ago

Steady Dern!!

Dern
Dern (@guest_831600)
17 days ago

Let’s order 150 off the hot production line and equip RSDG and QDG with them 😛

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831622)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

It’s probably not a bad idea, MBT level firepower, protection against 40mm APFSDS, wheels level reliability, 500mile range, 30 tonnes for very good air and strategic mobility…but best of all its around 1.2 billion pounds for 150 of them with 10 years service and spares contract…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831715)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

And General Carter, the MoD, the army, ignored. Now why is that?
Is there any evidence it was even considered when the Strike Bde fiasco was being brewed?

Dern
Dern (@guest_831741)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It’s not a bad idea, especially for supporting Foxhound and Boxer, and I am a Centauro fangirl, but also, I sadly realise we don’t have a spare 1.2 billion lying around.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_831747)
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I’m sure if they shook the sofa a bit they could find £600,000 for 75 or so…as you say now wheels are going to be a big thing in the army ( what with boxer) it really makes sense..especially as boxer does not come with its own useful direct fire option.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_834786)
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

We could get some boxers and fit the Ajax 40mm turret. Lithuania have a 40mm turreted boxer IFV variant and it looks decent enough

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831712)
17 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Got to be an improvement over Jackal, surely! Even just a regiments worth for the L Cav DRSB Regiment.

Dern
Dern (@guest_831744)
16 days ago

I think Jackal has a place, especially in Light Exped Warfare, flank screening, and such, I just think it should support the lightest formations we have, 4 and maybe 7, with Yeomanry operating them in a reserve role.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_831746)
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, that’s my view too. All recc assets have a place. I’m not against Jackal in 4, in 16, with SF, with the reserves, or other LI Bns.
7 is the one isn’t it. I’d like it to have greater firepower and mechanization, so something heavier than Foxhound, Jackal and Light Guns. But if that’s not possible, it’s ok in conjunction with Foxhound. A very light wheeled brigade.

Bill
Bill (@guest_831694)
17 days ago

A wheeled tank with a 120mm gun?!!

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_831753)
16 days ago
Reply to  Bill

Yes, the Centauro 1 have the 105mm L7 compatible.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_834784)
6 days ago

Wheeled tank destroyers. Interesting concept. Didn’t France send something equivalent but a lot older to Ukraine where they were found to be a liability as inadequately armoured and easily taken out?