The Spanish Secretary of State for Defence (SEDEF), Ángel Olivares, chaired a meeting held at the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) Santa Bárbara Sistemas facility near Seville on 17 June to examine progress on the VCR 8x8 DRAGÓN programme. The meeting, which included a dynamic demonstration, assessed progress against programme objectives and capabilities achieved.

The event brought together senior representatives of the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM), the Spanish Army and the companies constituting the partnership managing the programme: GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas and Sapa Placencia.

The assembly line for the five DRAGÓN prototypes at Seville is working at full capacity, complying with all regulations related to COVID-19 infection prevention. The delegation was able to tour the facility and check at first hand the design maturity before witnessing a mobility demonstration that confirmed positive progress against objectives and schedules. The first two prototypes/demonstrators are scheduled to begin firing tests in early July.

SEDEF confirmed that a procurement contract for 348 series production units is expected to be signed in August, after which Indra Sistemas, GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Sapa Placencia and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering will establish a company to manage the VCR programme. This entity will deliver the 348 vehicles over an estimated seven-year peiod and will also manage life-cycle maintenance and support as well as the international marketing of the DRAGÓN. The participating companies’ objective is to ensure the customer demands are fully met while ensuring the programme becomes a driving force in Spain’s defence industry. To this end, an ambitious national industrial plan has been developed, maintaining design authority in Spain and aiming at no less than 70% national industrial participation. The programme will have particular impact in Asturias, Seville, Guipúzcoa and Madrid, where the creation of 650 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs is anticipated.

Two VCR DRAGÓN prototypes/demonstrators are expected to begin firing trials in July. (Photos: SEDEF/Marco Romeromde)

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