Contract Authorized for the First Production Batch of the VCR 8x8 Combat Vehicle
(Source: Spanish Government; issued June 23, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by
The Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday authorized the award of a €2 billion contract to GDELS Santa Barbara for the production of an initial batch of 348 VCR 8x8 armored vehicles, a local variant of the Mowag Piranha 5. (SP MoD photo)
The Council of Ministers has authorized the award of the contract for the first production batch of the Vehículo de Combate sobre Ruedas 8x8 (8x8 Wheeled Combat Vehicle, or VCR) for an estimated value of 2,083,275,262.81 euros.

The Armored Wheeled Combat Vehicle belongs to a family of versatile and adaptable medium-weight armored vehicles with protection, firepower and mobility capabilities that allow their rapid deployment to any Operations Zone. The vehicles will include their respective components of the mission system, weapons, level of protection, sensors, communications and command and control systems, as well as their logistical support equipment.

The contract includes the manufacture of 348 VCRs, which will be delivered progressively over ten years, until the year 2030. The vehicles will be manufactured in different configurations, which will allow them to adapt to different operating environments.

This program will allow the replacement of vehicles that have largely exceeded their service life and that offer less protection for their crews, such as the Blindados Medios sobre Ruedas (Medium Wheeled Armored Vehicles, or BMR) and the Vehículos de Exploración de Caballería (Cavalry Scout Vehicles, or VEC), improving the capability for autonomous defense

Likewise, the incorporation of these vehicles will allow decisive progress in convergence with the defense objectives established by NATO and recommended by the European Parliament, as part of a necessary distribution of responsibilities, economic efforts and resources demanded of allies, ensuring the sustainability of a regional environment of peace and security, and helping to prevent conflicts and contain emerging threats by projecting stability, particularly in areas of interest to Spain.

A very relevant aspect of the 8x8 program will be its impact on the industry, since its implementation is intended to reach, or exceed, 70% of the locally-produced content, thereby increasing the principle of sovereignty in acquisition.

The aim is to maintain an advanced technological and industrial base in the field of Defense equipment, for which purpose this program will continue the investments made in the "Leopard" and "Pizarro" programs, and thereby develop its own product.

Likewise, the program will allow equipment and systems already operating in the Armed Forces to evolve, establishing an industrial base that will continue to support future operational needs.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Spanish Ministry of Defense said the contract will be awarded, as planned, in August.
Delivery of the first vehicles, called Dragon (Dragoon) by the Spanish Army, will be delivered during the first half of 2022.
Pre-production vehicles will be evaluated by Spain's Foreign Legion beginning in late 2020 or early 2021.
In total, Spain could buy as many as 1,000 VCRs.)


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