Ground Warfare

Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8×8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle

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Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8×8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle

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Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8x8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle
Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8x8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle

The VCR 8×8 Dragon, Spain’s new infantry fighting vehicle, has commenced its internal testing phase at the GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas factory in Alcalá de Guadaira, Seville. This crucial step precedes the anticipated delivery to the Spanish Ministry of Defense (MoD) and marks a significant milestone in the country’s military modernization efforts. Internal tests are currently underway to meticulously review and validate all systems of the vehicle prior to the commencement of qualification tests scheduled for April. These tests, conducted in collaboration with the DGAM and the Spanish MoD, will thoroughly assess the performance and capabilities of the VCR 8×8 Dragon infantry fighting vehicle.

The upcoming qualification tests will encompass various assessments, including rigorous trials at the facilities of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) in Torrejón de Ardoz and La Marañosa, Madrid. These evaluations are essential to ensure the vehicle’s readiness and effectiveness in meeting the operational requirements of the Spanish Armed Forces. The VCR 8×8 Dragon program, initiated under the Vehículo de Combate sobre Ruedas (VCR) initiative, aims to replace outdated vehicles such as the BMR, VEC, and M113 in the Spanish Army’s inventory. Developed by a local consortium consisting of Indra Sistemas, Sapa Placencia, and General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas, the vehicle is based on the proven Piranha V design.

VCR 8x8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle
VCR 8×8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle. (Photo by GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas)

GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas’ Trubia factory in Asturias has played a pivotal role in the manufacturing process, with the cutting of the first steel armor plate symbolizing the commencement of production. Recent months have seen significant upgrades and modernizations in the factory, facilitated by substantial investments totaling over 14 million euros. These enhancements position the facility as a leading European hub for the production of advanced armored vehicles. The production of the VCR 8×8 Dragon not only reinforces Spain’s defense capabilities but also drives economic growth through job creation. The Trubia factory, which currently employs approximately 750 workers, is expected to generate an additional 900 direct jobs by 2023, along with 4,500 indirect jobs.

Tess Defence, a consortium comprising GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas, Sapa Operaciones, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering, has been entrusted with the initial phase of the VCR 8×8 Dragon program. This phase involves the production of 348 units of the vehicle, with a strategic focus on maintaining design authority in Spain and promoting significant domestic industry participation. As the VCR 8×8 Dragon progresses through testing and production phases, it heralds a new era of capability enhancement for the Spanish Armed Forces while bolstering the nation’s industrial prowess in the global defense market.

Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8x8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle
Spain Begins Testing for First VCR 8×8 Dragon Infantry Combat Vehicle. (Photo by GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas)

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