Armor: May 28, 2002


Greek National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the press on 22 May that the armed forces may order Centaur (Kentauros) Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles in 2002 from Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO). The proposal would be submitted to the Defense Ministry by 15 July and contains improvements requested by the armed forces. ELBO would supply of 140 AIFVs for 140 billion drachmas, with an option for a further 140 vehicles. The Defense Ministry had already signed a $6.5 million (2.5 billion drachma) research and technology program.

The Centaur was first presented to the public on 11 February 2000, at the Litochoro, Pieria range. A German and Greek crew operated the vehicle, since both countries have expressed an interest in acquiring the vehicle. At the time, a $76.9 million (28.5 billion drachmas) deal was foreseen for 583 Greek Army vehicles in several variants.

High ranking Greek military officers speculated that approximately 2,000 such vehicles would be needed over the following decade by foreign military services, such as Malaysia, Egypt and Pakistan. 

The Centaur's development has involved firms from Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. The vehicle - an advanced version of the "Leonidas" - weighs 20 tons, has a 90 mm main gun, a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and eight German-made smoke grenade launchers. It can carry eight soldiers in addition to it's crew of three and is C-130 transportable. - Adam Geibel


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