Defense and Tess-Defense Sign the Contract to Manufacture the 8x8 ‘Dragon’ Vehicles
(Source: Spanish Ministry of Defence; issued August 25, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles (center, in white jacket) presided over the official signature of the €1.7 billion initial contract for the Spanish Army’s future 8x8 wheeled combat vehicle, Dragon, derived from the Mowag Piranha 5. (Spanish MoD photo)
MADRID --- The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, this morning presided over the signing of the contract for the manufacture of 348 "Dragon" 8X8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR), with a duration of ten years.

Robles described the contract as "a historic milestone" since "it is essential for the Army," in addition to representing a commitment to "a well-equipped and prepared Armed Forces".

"It will favor the projection of the Armed Forces in the international arena," she stressed.

The minister has also indicated that this contract is another example of the commitment made by the Ministry for the Spanish defense industry. "We understand that it is essential and fundamental, and we cannot conceive of a Europe with security and defense if it is not with industrial power."

Finally, Robles wanted to thank the participating companies and the rest of the agents involved for their “willingness” to overcome difficulties and carry out the project.

For her part, the Secretary of State for Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro, also had words of gratitude to those present for the work carried out to date and stressed that this program "is essential for the modernization of our Armed Forces and, specifically, for the Army.”

On the part of the Ministry of Defense, the contract was signed by the Deputy Director General for Acquisitions of the General Directorate of Armament and Material, and for Tess-Defense SA by its Chief Executive Officer.

The event was also attended by the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Francisco Javier Varela; the Secretary General for Defense Policy, Admiral Juan Francisco Martínez Núñez, and the representatives of the four companies that make up Tess -Defence SA: Sapa Operations SL, Indra Sistemas SA, Escribano Mechanical & Engineering SL, and Santa Bárbara Sistemas SA.

With this signature, it is intended to achieve the objective of 70% participation of the national industry in the development and production phase of the VCR 8X8 and the Vehicle Design Authority will be managed and maintained, ensuring in the future the execution of support for its life cycle. This project was born with a clear export vocation that will allow the Spanish Defense industry to be positioned internationally in a highly competitive market.

The acquisition program of the armored vehicle on wheels will serve to renew the current fleet of BMR and VEC of the Army, it will provide our soldiers with greater security and protection in their missions, improving their capabilities to operate in high-, medium- or low-intensity scenarios.

This development, which is entirely Spanish, provides the national industry with technological sovereignty over a strategic system that represents a priority factor in the Defense sector for its projection, both internally and externally, promoting the development of its own technological industries.

The multiplier and innovation effect will fall mainly on the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Madrid, the Basque Country and Andalusia, since this is where the factories of the participating industries are located. But its driving potential will generate an expansion of economic activity with a direct impact on the creation of qualified employment in Spain (approximately 8,750 jobs between direct, indirect and induced during the expected duration of the execution of the contract).

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General Dynamics ELS Awarded €733 Million of €1.74 Billion Contract for 348 Spanish 8x8 Combat Vehicles
(Source: General Dynamics; issued Aug 25, 2020)
MADRID –-- The Spanish Ministry of Defense today awarded a €1.74 billion (USD $2.06 billion) contract to a joint venture of General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) and three other companies to deliver 348 8x8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR), their maintenance and life cycle support, as well as support their international commercialization.

The GDELS-SBS contract is for €733 million (USD $870 million). The program is expected to grow to a total of approximately 1,000 vehicles.

The vehicle, named “Dragón” by the Spanish Army, is based on the GDELS 8x8 PIRANHA 5’s combat wheeled vehicle and includes all Spanish national technologies as required by the Spanish MoD. It is expected to be delivered over a seven-year period.

“We sincerely thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for its confidence in our vehicle platform, our engineering, and industrial capabilities,” said Juan Escriña, GDELS Vice President for Tracked Vehicles & Artillery and Managing Director of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas. “As a reliable partner, GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas is truly proud to help the Spanish Army protect Spanish soldiers and improve its strategic mobility with state-of-the-art 8x8 wheeled combat vehicles," Escriña adds.

The GDELS-SBS joint venture (JV) will manufacture the 8x8 VCR at GDELS sites in Trubia and Seville, Spain, with the collaboration of the other Spanish JV members. The JV members include GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas, Sapa Placencia, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering. The Spanish Ministry of Defense mandated a National Industrial plan in which Spanish industry participation must be no less than 70% of the total program. The JV was established to ensure that all operational objectives and needs of the Spanish Army and the Spanish Ministry of Defense are fully met and to fulfill the requirements of the government’s industrial plan.

GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas program participation will involve approximately 650 direct and 1,100 indirect employees.

The PIRANHA 5 is one of the most advanced and capable 8x8 wheeled armored vehicles and the top end of the PIRANHA vehicle family. In addition to its high level of protection, the PIRANHA 5 has a flexible and spacious crew compartment and significant payload capacity. The vehicle’s inherent growth potential ensures the ability for future upgrades and technology insertion over the vehicle’s lifetime. In terms of mobility and maneuverability, the PIRANHA 5, with its efficient all-wheel drive, hydro-pneumatic suspension, and 4th axle steering, sets the top standard in this vehicle class. The PIRANHA family of vehicles is the most successful wheeled armored vehicle family - more than 11,500 PIRANHAs are in service worldwide.


General Dynamics European Land Systems, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, is a business unit of General Dynamics and conducts its business through five European operating sites located in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. With approximately 2,200 highly skilled technical employees, the companies design, manufacture, and deliver world-class land combat systems, including wheeled, tracked, and amphibious vehicles, bridge systems, and armaments, to global customers.

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