An aging stock of infantry support-minded armored vehicles faced the Hellenic Army at the end of the Cold War (1991) so thought was given to extending the line of existing Leonidas-1 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). The Leonidas-2 partially succeeded in this task though it was not properly equipped to handle the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) role and was therefore not seen as a complete solution for the long term. ELVO of Greece began work on a wholly local IFV design which became the "Kentaurus" ("Centaur") following the widely accepted form and function of other Western IFVs. However, though a commitment was expressed by the Greek government and Hellenic Army authorities, the Kentaurus was never introduced and is still awaiting its fate. Design work spanned from 1996 to 1998 and an order for 140 was never fulfilled. The Kentaurus successfully passed its evaluation phase.
At its core, the Kentaurus is a traditional IFV in the 20-22 ton range. It is powered by a German MTU 6V 183TE22 diesel engine of 420 horsepower offering road speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and operational service out to 310 miles. A rotary damper (lever arm) suspension system has been added for cross-country travel. Welded steel is used in its armor construction and the standard crew is three with seating for eight combat-ready infantry. The driver sits at front left with the powerpack to his right. A turret emplacement is sat over the hull roof and the rear of the hull is taken up by the passenger compartment with access through doors at the rear hull face. Running gear includes six double rubber-tired roadwheels to a side with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear. Dimensions include a length of 6 meters, a width of 2.5 meters and a height of 2.4 meters.
The turret (based on an original Rheinmetall/Mauser design) is fully powered and fits a 30mm EBO autocannon with 396 projectiles afforded to the system. It also seats a 7.62mm machine gun in a coaxial arrangement and this installation is given 1,600 rounds of ammunition. Smoke grenade dischargers supply a self-screening capability for the vehicle.
While, at least initially, it was thought that the Russian BMP-3 series would be introduced into Greek service, that deal was cancelled, opening up an avenue for the possible arrival of the Kentaurus after all. Though this still remains to be seen and is further hampered by ongoing Greek economic woes.