VCR Dragon 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle
VCR Dragon 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle

Spain’s First VCR Dragon 8×8 Wheeled Combat Vehicle Program Ready for Trials

The first production units of the Spanish Army’s new VCR Dragon 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle have been completed and will be ready to start trials in the coming weeks. Tess Defence, a consortium of GDELS and Santa Bárbara Sistemas, plans to invest 14 million euros in the modernization of the Trubia factory between 2020 and 2023, as part of the program. The program to deliver up to 1,000 wheeled combat vehicles (VCR) to the Spanish Army under the Dragón project has entered the construction phase with a steel cutting ceremony at the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) factory in Trubia. The consortium is currently on contract to deliver 348 of the 8×8 vehicles, but the program is expected to grow to a total of approximately 1,000 vehicles.

The Spanish defense ministry announced that the program to field a next-generation of combat vehicles had completed the system design phase, obtaining critical design review (CDR) approval in late July. The main objective of the VCR is to demonstrate that the design of the vehicle in its infantry fighting vehicles (VCI) and sapper (VCZ) variants is mature enough to start the manufacturing and testing process. Various variants of the vehicles are expected to be fitted with different remote weapon stations, such as the Leonardo’s Hitfist 30mm turret, or Escribano’s Guardian 30mm cannons. A number of the systems are expected to field Spike LR missile launchers. Dragon VCR will replace the Pegaso 3560 BMR armored personnel carriers and Pegaso VEC-M1 reconnaissance vehicles.

VCR Dragon 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle
VCR Dragon 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle

The manufacturing of the VCR for the Spanish Armed Forces has started in the Trubia Factory (Asturias) of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas with the cutting of the first steel armor plate. In the period 2020-23, GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas will invest 14 million euros in the modernization of the Trubia Factory with the acquisition of state-of-the-art machinery that will reinforce it as a European industrial reference. The Trubia Factory of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas generates approximately 750 jobs and is a benchmark industrial facility at the European level, specialized in the manufacture of state-of-the-art armored tracked and wheeled vehicles, such as the Pizarro (ASCOD in its international denomination).

The vehicle General Dynamics European Land Systems offered for the Spanish Army in cooperation with Santa Bárbara Sistemas is based on the company’s Piranha 5 vehicle. It was expected to be delivered to the Spanish armed forces in 13 different configurations. However, the actual number of configurations, as well as the number of vehicles to be delivered, is likely to be determined once the contract is awarded later this year. The Piranha V Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) is one variant of the fifth generation of the Mowag Piranha family of vehicles. It was designed by General Dynamics European Land Systems & Mowag GmbH. After aborting the Vehiculo de Combate sobre Ruedas (VCR) 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle program late last year, the Spanish defense ministry is relaunching the procedure under new conditions.