Leonardo Defence Systems has confirmed that the Italian Army placed its first contract for 11 Centauro II 8×8 Mobile Gun Systems (MGSs) in July. Details about the contract were revealed to Jane's in November.
This order comprises the single prototype to be brought up to full production standard, as well as 10 new Centauro II vehicles and a two-year support package.
Extensive user trials resulted in several suggested improvements, and these are being fitted to the prototype that will be completed in 2019 for final test and evaluation.
Improvements include installing an identification, friend-or-foe (IFF) system, latest generation radios, and new grenade launchers that are to meet the European environmental requirements.
The commander and loader's hatches are to be capable of being lifted through 180°, and the driver's situational awareness is to be improved for driving in the closed-hatch position. The roof-mounted Hitrole remote weapon system (RWS), armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun (MG), will be repositioned because its location on the forward part of the turret roof can restrict the view through the commander's Leonardo Attila stabilised day (colour charge device camera)/third-generation thermal sighting system that includes a laser rangefinder.
Production of the complete hull and running gear will be undertaken at Iveco Defence Vehicles Bolzano facility, while the turret is to be manufactured at the Leonardo Defence Systems facility in La Spezia.
The first four production Centauro II 8×8 MGSs are slated to be complete in the last half of 2020, followed by another six in 2021. The Italian Army's total requirement for the Centauro II 8×8 MGS, funding permitting, is for 148 units in two batches of 74, with tranches within these batches.
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