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1⁄35Building a B1 Centauro
At the beginning of the 80s the Italian
Army renewed its interest in armoured vehichles, justifyng it with the
progress of the technology in the field of the recoil of high initial speed
guns, and the great improvement of the multiple-axes wheeled vehichles
offroad mobility. In mid 80s the Italian Army was still looking for an
effective substitute of the M47s still in service with the second-line
units. The probability to face an attack not coming from the traditional
"eastern border" but from other areas of the Italian peninsula woke up the
interest in vehicles having an high strategic mobility and the ablility to
be quickly deployed without the need to be trasported by plane or railway.
The new threaten came mainly from mechanized infantry units and light
armoured units and a wheeled solution was preferred to face it. In 1984 the
Italian Army asked the national industry to provide a solution based on a
light armoured, highly mobility, wheeled veihicle equipped with an effective
anti-tank weapon to be used for the territorial defense tasks, to secure and
control wide areas, and with anti tank and recoinnassance capabilities. The
initial specs included: a weight of 20-25 tons, a front engine, a revolving
turret with a 105mm main gun (able to use the standard NATO ammo already
available for the Leopard 1 A1/A2 and the M60 A1), the gun had to be
operated by an all weather day/night computerized fire control system with
the ability to engage and destroy tanks and other armoured vehicles up to a
distance of 2000m.