General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) – Santa Bárbara Sistemas together with the Spanish National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) have started the testing campaign for the certification of the mine protection and improvised explosive device (IED) of the VCR 8×8 Dragon. First test took place on April 19th at INTA’s facilities in La Marañosa (Madrid). This is the first time that a mine and IED protection certification campaign of a vehicle of these characteristics and with this protection level takes place in Spain. The certification against mines and IED is carried out within the framework of the acquisition contract of the Spanish Ministry of Defense with the company TESSDefense (consortium made up of GDELSSBS, Indra, SAPA Placencia and Escribano Mechanical and Engineering) to provide the Spanish Army with a wheeled combat vehicle.
The development of these technological programs was entrusted to the company TESSDefense. The demonstrators built within these programs allowed these companies to mature the technologies necessary to address the challenge of executing the serial production phase of the VCR 8×8 Dragon Program. These capabilities were further complemented by the design authority of Escribano Mechanical and Engineering S.L. on the armament subsystem, which is why the four companies agreed to form a national group of companies with sufficient industrial and technological capacity to cover all phases of the life cycle of the system. Thus, TESS Defence, was created to capitalize on the experience of its partners, relying on their strengths and resources, to lead the industrial effort in the next phases of the VCR8x8 Dragon Program.
The objective of the VCR8x8 Dragon Program is to obtain an 8×8 Wheeled Combat Vehicle to replace the MRAPs (RG-31 and LINCE), M1 BMRs, M1 VECs and part of the TOAs fleet, incorporating new technical solutions to face the evolution of threats, taking into account both the experience accumulated by other countries around Spain, which have this type of vehicles, and the adaptation of the solution to the organic structure of the Spanish Army. With this objective in mind, the Ministry of Defense, through the Spanish General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM), initiated several years ago a series of technological programs whose objective was to reduce the risks associated with the development and acquisition of a vehicle with advanced characteristics, as well as to enable the national industry to play a leading role in the future supply of the VCR 8×8 Dragon.
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.