Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Samoum
Iveco Defence Vehicles
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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 Draco is a variant combining the proven Centauro 8x8 chassis with the OTO Melara 76/62 (76mm 62-caliber) Super Rapid Strales anti-aircraft (AA) naval gun system. The Draco weapon system primary function is the air defense against rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft firing 76mm DART guided ammunition but can support other roles such as Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM); coastal defense against different targets including small and fast boats; and anti-armor against tanks and IFVs. The Draco turret is a remotely operated weapon station with an automatic ammunition loading system and operated by a commander and gunner from inside the vehicle or an outer post. In addition to the 76mm cannon, the Draco turret can be fitted with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun. The turret also includes an electro-optical sight system, a telemetric laser and a radar to track incoming targets and to guide the DART munitions. The Draco turret can be installed on wheeled or tracked platforms. The turret armor is compliant with NATO 4569 Level 2 protection but can upgraded to Level 5 if required by the customer.
In June 2010, OTO Melara and TAWAZUN of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the marketing and production of the Draco system at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, France. The Draco is also called the Samoum which is a wind blowing in the desert. At the Eurosatory 2012 exhibition IVECO unveiled a Draco weapon system with the Italian Army marks.
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