Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
17 February 2009
Also Known As: Centauro VBC and Freccia
Consortium Iveco-Oto Melara*, Iveco Defence Vehicles and Oto Melara (*) lead contractor
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Description: The Centauro is a high mobility 8x8 wheeled armored combat vehicle family designed to perform a variety of missions. It was developed by Iveco Defense Vehicles, Consorzio IVECO Fiat-OTO Melara and OTO Melara for the Italian Army in the late 1980s. The first variant, the Centauro cavalry fighting vehicle, entered service in 1991. The second variant of Centauro introduced in 2009, known as Centauro 8x8 VBC or Centauro VBM, features add-on armor for increased protection, larger troops compartment and a turret-mounted 25mm cannon to serve as an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Other versions have been developed for air defense, field artillery and recovery and repair of damaged Centauros on the battlefield.
The Centauro VBM, also known as Centauro VBC or Freccia within the Italian Army, is an Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) derived from the Centauro 8x8 cavalry fighting vehicle. The new vehicle features a new interior layout allowing for the accommodation of up to eight infantrymen, driver and two-man in the turret. The Italian Army's 26-ton Freccia is provided with a two-man HitFirst P turret equipped with a 25mm stabilized gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a 7.62mm roof-mounted machine gun.
The Freccia/Centauro VBM (Veicolo Blindato Medio) is powered by a 550-hp diesel engine which permits a top speed of 110 kph. In addition to the ballistic armor protection, the Freccia is provided with a protection system against Nuclear, Bacteriological and Chemical (NBC) agents.
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