Ground Warfare

Spanish Army Receives ASCOD VCZAP Castor Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles

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Spanish Army Receives ASCOD VCZAP Castor Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles

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Spanish Army Receives ASCOD VCZAP Castor Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles
Spanish Army Receives ASCOD VCZAP Castor Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles

GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas has marked a significant milestone in the enhancement of Spain’s military capabilities with the delivery of four ASCOD VCZAP (Vehículo de Combate de Zapadores) “Castor” Armored Sapper Combat Vehicles to the Spanish Army. This delivery, part of the second phase Pizarro program, underscores the nation’s commitment to equipping its engineering units with state-of-the-art vehicles to tackle a wide array of tasks and missions effectively. The handover ceremony, which took place at the GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas factory in Alcalá de Guadaíra (Seville) on March 5, was attended by representatives from the Spanish Ministry of Defense Pizarro Program Office and the Armored Systems Park and Maintenance Center (PCMASA) number 1 of the Spanish Army. The Castor vehicles, equipped with dozer blades, were officially transferred to PCMASA and subsequently relocated to strategic locations in Zaragoza, Burgos, and Madrid for operational deployment.

This delivery is part of a larger contract between the Spanish Ministry of Defense and GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, which includes the provision of a total of 36 Castor vehicles, comprising one prototype and 35 production units, all equipped with their respective dozer blades. The initial phase of deliveries commenced in December 2023, with six vehicles handed over. With the recent completion of the additional four vehicles, a total of ten series vehicles, including the prototype, have been delivered to date. The remaining units are slated for delivery throughout 2024 as per the ongoing schedule. The acquisition of Castor advanced combat vehicles represents a significant advancement in the Spanish Army’s capabilities, providing them with versatile assets that are essential for modern warfare scenarios. These vehicles are equipped to meet the evolving challenges faced by military engineering units, offering enhanced mobility, protection, and firepower.

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Spanish Army VCZAP Castor (ASCOD II) Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles
Spanish Army VCZAP Castor (ASCOD II) Armored Engineering Combat Vehicle. (Photo by Spanish MoD)

The Castor vehicles, part of the ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) family, represent the culmination of a fruitful cooperation between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spanish General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas. This collaboration has resulted in a versatile and potent platform that promises to enhance the Spanish Army’s operational readiness and effectiveness. The ASCOD family encompasses a diverse range of configurations, catering to various battlefield requirements. Among these variants is the LT 105 light tank, equipped with a formidable 105 mm gun, providing potent firepower on the battlefield. Additionally, the family includes a surface-to-air missile launcher, an anti-tank guided missile launcher, a mortar carrier, R&R vehicle, command-and-control vehicle, ambulance, and artillery observer.

In Spanish service, the ASCOD vehicle is dubbed “Pizarro,” reflecting its role as a stalwart defender on the battlefield. Its Austrian counterpart, known as “Ulan,” serves a similar purpose in the Austrian Army, complementing their heavy Leopard 2A4 tanks. The introduction of ASCOD vehicles heralds a significant leap forward for the Spanish Army, as they retire older light armored fighting vehicles like the M113 armored personnel carrier and the Saurer APC. This modernization effort underscores Spain’s commitment to maintaining a technologically advanced and capable defense force. The versatility of the ASCOD platform ensures that the Spanish Army remains adaptable to evolving threats and operational requirements. the ASCOD vehicles offer unmatched mobility and firepower, providing a decisive edge on the battlefield.

Spanish Army VCZAP Castor (ASCOD II) Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles
Spanish Army VCZAP Castor (ASCOD II) Armored Engineering Combat Vehicles. (Photo by Spanish MoD)

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