The Secretary of State for Defense, Ángel Olivares, today chaired a meeting to monitor the technological programs of the 8x8 Combat Vehicle on Wheels (VCR), which was held at the GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas Factory in Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville).
Olivares stressed to the press that the VCR 8x8 "is one of the essential pillars on which National Defense is based and without it that the Armed Forces could not participate in international peacekeeping operations." And he stressed that this program "is a strategic and inalienable objective for Spain".
The Secretary of State was able to verify the maturity of the project and announced that "the first two vehicles will carry out the first firing tests at the Zaragoza range in July", so that the contract with the companies can be formalized in August and the first operational vehicles delivered in the first or second quarter of 2022.
Along these lines, the development of this program involves an ambitious national industrial plan to maintain design authority in Spain and favors a high participation of the national industry, with a percentage of not less than 70%.
The program will have a special impact in Asturias, Seville, Guipúzcoa and Madrid, where the creation of 650 direct jobs and another 1,000 indirect jobs is expected.
The meeting brought together high representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM), the Army and the companies that make up consortium that manages these technological programs, Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas and Sapa Placencia.
The state secretary’s delegation was able to see first-hand the degree of progress of the demonstrators and toured the assembly line with five prototypes of the VCR 8x8 installed in one of the factory's workshops, which is at full capacity while respecting prevention measures related to the Covid-19.
They then witnessed a dynamic demonstration of the 8x8 VCRs on the test track and verified the maturity of the designs and their performance in a display of mobility and power. The first two demonstrators are slated to carry out firing tests in early July.
The meeting was attended by the Chief of the Army Staff, Army General Francisco Javier Varela; the general director of Armament and Material, Admiral Santiago Ramón González and the deputy director to the DGAM General Francisco Javier Abajo.
The CEO of GDELS-SBS also participated; Juan Escriña, the executive director general director of Transport and Defense of Indra, Ignacio Mataix; and the CEO of Sapa, Ibon Aperribay.
Indra Sistemas, Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Sapa Placencia and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering will constitute a company that will be in charge of executing the VCR 8x8 program, after the Ministry of Defense has signed the commitment that allows the constitution of said company.
This will deal with the supply of 348 8x8 VCR series units, as well as maintenance and support to the life cycle and its international commercialization. These vehicles will be delivered within an estimated period of seven years from the signing of the Program agreement.
The objective of the four companies through this partnership is to satisfy all the operational objectives and respond to all the needs of the Army and the Ministry of Defense and that the VCR 8x8 Program becomes a driving force of the national industry.