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Spain re-launches 8×8 VCR Dragon program

Dragon VCR 8x8
Spanish defense ministry file photo of the proposed Dragon VCR

After aborting the VCR 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle program late last year, the Spanish defense ministry is relaunching the procedure under new conditions.

The country’s “Dragón”, or Vehiculo de Combate sobre Ruedas (VCR), program was brought to a halt in December 2019, when the defense ministry rejected an offer from General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas, in what was interpreted by many as a bid by the defense ministry to secure a better offer.

Margarita Robles, Spain’s defense minister announced on December 27 that Spain would re-tender the €2.1 billion contract to produce 348 VCRs, as the offer submitted by Santa Bárbara Sistemas did not meet “technical and economical requirements.”

The defense ministry has now announced that it has authorized the establishment of a limited company, made up of Spanish companies Indra Sistemas SA, Santa Bárbara Sistemas SA, Sapa Placencia SL and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering SL, for the sole purpose of implementing the VCR 8×8 program.

As explained, the approval means that a new tender period has begun, while a contract is expected to be signed during the third quarter of 2020.

The vehicle GDELS offered for the Spanish Army in cooperation with Santa Bárbara Sistemas is based on the company’s Piranha 5 vehicle. It was expected to be delivered to the Spanish armed forces in 13 different configurations. However, the actual number of configurations, as well as the number of vehicles to be delivered, is likely to be determined once the contract is awarded later this year.