The Spanish Ministry of Defense awarded a €1.74 billion (USD $2.06 billion) contract to a joint venture of General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) and three other companies to deliver 348 8×8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR), their maintenance and life cycle support, as well as support their international commercialization. The program is expected to grow to a total of approximately 1,000 vehicles. The GDELS-SBS contract is for €733 million (USD $870 million). The vehicle, named “Dragón” by the Spanish Army, is based on the GDELS 8×8 PIRANHA 5’s combat wheeled vehicle and includes all Spanish national technologies as required by the Spanish MoD. It is expected to be delivered over a seven-year period.
“We sincerely thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for its confidence in our vehicle platform, our engineering, and industrial capabilities,” said Juan Escriña, GDELS Vice President for Tracked Vehicles & Artillery and Managing Director of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas. “As a reliable partner, GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas is truly proud to help the Spanish Army protect Spanish soldiers and improve its strategic mobility with state-of-the-art 8×8 wheeled combat vehicles,” Escriña adds.
The GDELS-SBS joint venture (JV) will manufacture the 8×8 VCR at GDELS sites in Trubia and Seville, Spain, with the collaboration of the other Spanish JV members. GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas program participation will involve approximately 650 direct and 1,100 indirect employees. The JV members include GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas, Sapa Placencia, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering. The Spanish Ministry of Defense mandated a National Industrial plan in which Spanish industry participation must be no less than 70% of the total program. The JV was established to ensure that all operational objectives and needs of the Spanish Army and the Spanish Ministry of Defense are fully met and to fulfill the requirements of the government’s industrial plan.
The PIRANHA 5 is one of the most advanced and capable 8×8 wheeled armored vehicles and the top end of the PIRANHA vehicle family. In addition to its high level of protection, the PIRANHA 5 has a flexible and spacious crew compartment and significant payload capacity. The vehicle’s inherent growth potential ensures the ability for future upgrades and technology insertion over the vehicle’s lifetime. In terms of mobility and maneuverability, the PIRANHA 5, with its efficient all-wheel drive, hydro-pneumatic suspension, and 4th axle steering, sets the top standard in this vehicle class. The PIRANHA family of vehicles is the most successful wheeled armored vehicle family – more than 11,500 PIRANHAs are in service worldwide.
General Dynamics European Land Systems, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and conducts its business through five European operating sites located in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. With approximately 2,200 highly skilled technical employees, the companies design, manufacture, and deliver world-class land combat systems, including wheeled, tracked, and amphibious vehicles, bridge systems, and armaments, to global customers. While General Dynamics European Land Systems was established as the European arm of General Dynamics in 2003, its roots in global defense go back more than 470 years.
The first company the group acquired in Europe, Santa Bárbara Sistemas (Spain) in July 2001, is recognized as one of the oldest weapons manufacturers in the world. Motorenwagenfabrik MOWAG (Switzerland) was established in 1950 and made its name internationally as a leading manufacturer of troop carriers and other specialized vehicles. Foremost among these is the PIRANHA family, the most successful Western wheeled armored vehicle ever, which is now operated by more than 20 armies worldwide. MOWAG became part of GDELS in July 2004. The other vehicle specialist in the group is Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug (Austria). Another part of the group that can trace its history back more than a century and a half is the former EWK Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern, which was renamed General Dynamics European Land Systems-Germany.