The Greek ELBO Kentaurus Tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle was built to replace The Hellenic Army ageing BMP-1 IFV. It had been envisioned that the ELBO Leonidas-2 would meet this requirement, however issues over which company would develop the turret required to house a 25 – 40mm chain gun led to the vehicle not having one and being classed as just an APC.
So ELBO decided to build its own new IFV so as to avoid any issues of inteference by other other companies. The vehicle was first publicly unveiled at the Defendory Arms Exhibition in Athens in 1998 and an initial agreement in 2003 for an order of 140 vehicles was signed following successful trials.
Production has still not started. Instead at the beginning of 2008, the Greek ministry of national defense submitted a formal request for the purchase of 450 Russian BMP-3 over a period of 15 years for 1.2 billion Euros. However following a later public statement made by Russian Gen. Popowkin who criticized the BMP-3 stating that the troops used to ride on the top of the vehicle as the inside was seen as a coffin, led to Greek officials questioning the order of a vehicle that the country of origin publicly condemned and saw the order being suspended/cancelled in 2010. In the early part of 2011, the Greek Newspaper To Vima stated that the Russian Ministry of Defence sent a letter to the Greek Ministry of Defense Evangelos Venizelos, that they had accepted that there is now no possibility of implementing the sale of BMP-3’s to Greece.
So does this mean the Kentaurus could finally be entering production?
Weight 19.8 tonne’s
Crew 3 + 8
Armour welded steel
Main armament 30mm EBO cannon with 396 rounds stored
Secondary armament 7.62mm coaxial MG with 1600 rounds stored
Engine 420hp MTU 6V 183TE22 diesel
Power/weight 21.2 hp/tonne
Operational range 500km
Top Road Speed 75 km/h