The Ministry of Defense expects to receive in 2019 the five technology demonstrators of the future 8x8 Wheeled Combat Vehicle, and expects to sign a contract for the first batch of 348 vehicles, which will be the Army’s next-generation platform.
The Undersecretary for Defense, Angel Olivares, told the RED website that the current schedule calls for the delivery of the five demonstrators in 2019, and to close the production contract for a first batch of 348 vehicles, out of a total of 998, before the end of that year.
Olivares explained that the ministry is betting on the purchase of a vehicle that offers the maximum protection to its crew, emphasizing that "We want to obtain a domestic product, with a design authority in Spain, that is technologically advanced and is internationally competitive, so that it can be widely exported.
The program is now in the final stage of the design stage. The joint venture formed by Santa Barbara Sistemas, Sapa and Indra is working on the integration of the systems into the selected platform, the Piranha 5. After completing the process, the five technological demonstrators will undergo field trials with the Legion Brigade.
The undersecretary highlighted the workload that generated the development of the vehicle. "This program will have a great impact on employment, especially in Asturias, Guipuzcoa and Seville regions,” he said. Production of the program will take place in the Trubia and lcala de Guadaira factories of Santa Barbara Sistemas -- which will assemble the vehicles – and at the Sapa plant in Andoain where the Basque company works on the vehicle’s engines.
The joint venture unveiled the first mobility demonstrator in May, during a conference between the Army and industry in Toledo. Then-undersecretary Agustin Conde said at the time in the Congress of Deputies that the program has an estimated cost of 3,836.29 million euros, of which 1,587.60 million are for procurement and 2,248.68 for maintenance and modernization during the 30 years of useful life.