Russia is testing Italy’s Centauro wheeled tank and considering building it under license, a representative of the Oto-Melara company which makes the tank said on Saturday.
“The first two machines with 105-mm and 125-mm guns are on trial at a Moscow Region proving ground,” he said.
Two more Centauros with 120-mm and 30-mm guns will also join the trials in another six weeks. “The tanks will take part in laboratory, driving and firing trials,” the Oto-Melara representative said.
When the trials are complete at the end of this year, Russia will consider creating a joint venture for production of the tank with an enterprise from the Russian military-industrial complex, he said.
Russian truck maker Kamaz in Naberezhny Chelny could be involved in the deal, according to a source in Russian arms sales holding Rosoboronexport.
Commenting on the report that Russia is considering building Centauro tanks under license, Yury Borisov, first deputy head of the military-industrial commission, said Russia will only buy foreign weapon models on a one-off basis to study the manufacturing technology and then set up its own production.
A number of military experts earlier said licensed production of those machines in Russia is unlikely.
Russia signed a deal with Italy in December for the semi-knocked down assembly of 60 Lynx light multirole armored vehicles (LMV) from Iveco, Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Sukhorukov said in January.
Oto-Melara, part of the Italian Finnmeccanica group, is part of the CIO joint venture with vehicle manufacturer Iveco to make military vehicles.
Italy already has 400 Centauros in service. The 24 ton tank has a four-man crew, top speed of 100 km/h (60 mph) and range of 800 km (500 miles). It has a main gun and two 7.62 mm machineguns.