Brazilian army ditches Norinco ST1 and selects Italian-made Centauro II combat vehicle

As written by Roberto Caiafa in InfoDefensa on November 25, as expected since even before the tender was published, the Centauro II armored vehicle proposed by the CIO consortium formed equally by Iveco Defense Vehicles and Leonardo has been selected by the Brazilian Army to become its new wheeled combat vehicle, which the land force announced this day on the website created for the tender.

What is important to notice is that the Italian vehicle prevails over the General Dynamics Land Systems LAV 700 AG, which ended second in the competition, and the NORINCO ST1-BR, ending in third position. The contract, which provides for the purchase of at least 98 Centauro IIs and which may be extended to 221 in the coming years, introduces 120mm ammunition to the Brazilian Army, digital fire control systems, integrated communications for the C2 combat, passive and active defenses, all digitized and integrated with a modern and functional battlefield management system. It will be the most sophisticated and complete combat vehicle in the history of the Brazilian Army.

The Centauro II is considered as the benchmark in combat wheeled armored vehicles, since it is the only one specifically developed for this purpose and not an adapted armored personnel carrier. The version that will enter service with the Brazilian army is the same as the Italian army’s one. The vehicle is equipped with a Leonardo Hitfact MkII turret, armed with a 120mm/L45 cannon. The Hitfact MkII turret is NATO-qualified.

According to what was published by the magazine Tecnología & Defesa echoed by Roberto Caiafa, the Centauro II and the Guaraní share approximately 28.5% of components, which makes them practically members of the same family of armored vehicles.

Norinco ST1 steel welded 8×8 vehicle.

The Centauro II is a modernized version of the Centauro 1 anti-tank armored vehicle that was presented for the first time in June 2016 during the Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris. The previous version of the Centauro was the first 8×8 anti-tank vehicle in the world to be armed with a high-pressure gun.

The Centauro II is a new generation of fire support vehicle based on wheeled armored vehicle chassis armed with a third-generation 120/45 mm gun, with integrated muzzle brake and semi-automatic loading system. The weapon system provides a firepower equivalent to all most modern main battle tanks and is capable to fire the latest generation of 120 mm NATO ammunition including APFSDS (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and Multi-Purpose MP ammunition.

The Centauro II has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner, and loader. The vehicle is based on a V-shaped armored monocoque hull with a turret mounted at the rear of the hull. Both are of all-welded steel armor construction and integrate add-on armor and technical solutions offering STANAG 4569 level of protection against direct fire, anti-tank mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and the latest generation of kinetic ammunition.

The main armament of the Centauro II consists of a 120 mm/45 caliber gun fitted with a semi-automatic loading system with 12 ready-to-fire ammunition. Another batch of 19 ammunition is stored in the hull, in a compartment separated from the crew equipped with a fire-suppression system. The 120mm gun is an evolution of the Ariete MBT (Main Battle Tank) 44 caliber 120mm gun using a pepperpot muzzle brake and other features that reduce the recoil force from 45 tones in the Ariete to 25 tones in the Centauro II. The second armament includes one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and d a Hitrole L remote weapon station that can be armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.

The Centauro II has an 8×8 driveline offering a high level of mobility in all-terrain conditions. The vehicle is powered by an IVECO Vector 8V Euro III 720 hp engine, coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It can run at a maximum road speed of 105 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km.

The Centauro II can negotiate a gradient of 60%, side slopes of 30%, and a fording depth of 1.5 m without preparation. It has an angle of approach and departure of 40° and can cross natural or man-made obstacles up to 0.6 m high, and trenches 2 m wide.

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