The story of the Centauro IFV prototypes (also known as Centauro VBC) would begin in 1995, shortly after the development of the B1 Centauro tank destroyer made by OTO Melara and Iveco. Italy during the cold war was rapidly re-arming itself with more and more homegrown vehicles, mainly due to the post war laws no longer being in effect and Italian companies, such as OTO Melara being able to continue to work on military projects like they had been doing for so long. As they were producing the Centauro the ministry of defense would green light a set of programs that would aim to arm the Centauro with many different weapons to fit different roles, which would allow it to be more versatile. Part of this would come in the form of the Centauro Pegaso, a self propelled artillery piece installed unto a modified Centauro chassis with a 155mm cannon attached, this did not end up going anywhere sadly, although the program did give valuable information on the modification of the vehicle, and began to design some new variants shortly thereafter. The Italian army still continued to experiment on the vehicle again on to see if the B1 Centauro could be modified to fit other roles, in this case as an IFV. The development would begin in 1995, just as the first Centauro batches had nearly all started getting phased into service in the Italian army. During the development of this project, 3 different variants would come out, the B1 Centauro HVMS, which mounted the joint Israeli-Italian 60mm cannon, and then 2 more variants would show up, one which mounted the TC-20 turret, which used a 20mm cannon and the TC-25 Hitfist, which used a 25mm cannon. These vehicles would be officially shown around the years of 1996-1999. The armaments used would actually be installed unto previous vehicles, for example, the TC-20 would first be installed unto the Fiat 6616, which at the time the Italian Military police used. The TC-20’s main armament would consist of the Rheinmetall Mk.20 Rh 202, which could fire a variety of munitions, such as HE and APDS. The TC-20 turret could also mount a 106mm recoiless rifle and if needed could also be installed with either TOW or Milan anti tank guided missiles. Besides that some other optional equipment would include night vision devices and smoke grenades. Another version of the Centauro IFV would instead mount the TC-25 hitfist turret, which at the time was installed on the Dardo IFV. The TC-25 hitfist would use a 25mm Oerlikon KBA auto cannon as its main armament, this cannon had a high rate of fire and could fire much more deadlier munitions, which includes APFSDS. Other optional equipment included a thermal/night imaging device, smoke grenades and finally TOW ATGM’s. Both variants also had access to 7.62mm coaxial machine-gun, which would be mainly used against softer targets, such as enemy ground troops. In terms of protection, both vehicles receive improved armor on the sides of the vehicle, such as on the wheels,which would help it stay a bit better protected during combat. It would still likely be destroyed in one hit by most tank fire and guided missiles, as mentioned earlier it also had access to smoke grenades, so If it did get hit and was still somehow functional, at least it had the chance to disengage. In terms of mobility, this vehicle had an exceptional on road mobility, mainly due to it being wheeled, which allowed the vehicle to reach up to 105km an hour, it retained the same engine as the B1 Centauro, and since it was wheeled, at times its off-road mobility wasn’t the greatest. The vehicle ended up not being picked up but the Italian army, thus never officially entering service, due to the Dardo IFV program being deemed more than enough at the time there was no longer a need for an IFV of that type. Despite that it was still offered to the export market, and was shown off in multiple military exhibitions, sadly due to the sheer amount of IFV’s to choose from, usually at lower prices, no foreign nation would place orders either. This vehicle would however would give both OTO Melara and Iveco a lot of valuable know-how surrounding the making of IFV’s, and nearly a decade later would design, produce and put in service the Freccia IFV, which took inspiration from these vehicles from the project.
TC-25 Hitfist Turret:
25mm Oerlikon KBA auto-cannon
7.62mm coaxial machine-gun
Thermal/Night vision devices
TOW ATGM (able to fire ITOW, TOW-2A, TOW-2B)
Why it should be in game
This vehicle would be really easy to implement due to how we already have the the centauro platform in game, i can see this as a nice mid-tier vehicle for italy. It could be a premium, event or standard tech tree vehicle. Other than that Italy could use more vehicles to in the mid tiers as if im going to be honest the tree really needs more work to make it more fun to play.
OTO MELARA 1905-2005
Century of Italian armored cars - Nicola Pignato
Janes armor and Artillery
B1 Centauro - Tank Encyclopedia
B1 Centauro tank destroyer
(75^ Anniversario della costituzione della Specialità Carrista - 5 ottobre 2002 - pag.2)
VBM Freccia - Militarypedia
RASSEGNA DELL’ESERCITO 1999 N.4 by Biblioteca Militare - Issuu