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Jack Richardson

The Spanish Secretary of State for Defence, Ángel Olivares recently chaired a follow-up meeting, held at the GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas factory in Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville), for the Wheeled Combat Vehicle (VCR) 8×8 technological programmes. The event brought together senior representatives of the Spanish Ministry of Defence, the General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM), the Spanish Army and the companies that constitute the partnership, which manages these technological programmes, Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas and Sapa Placencia.

The delegation got to know first-hand the degree of progress of the demonstrators and toured the assembly chain of the five VCR 8×8 prototypes, which is installed in one of the factory’s workshops and at full production capacity, in compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures. They then witnessed a dynamic demonstration of the 8×8 VCRs on the test track and personally checked the maturity of the designs and their mobility allowance and power performance in a display. The first two demonstrators are supposed to conduct test firing in early July after the Secretary of State for Defence recently reiterated that the contract for the acquisition of 348 VCR 8×8 serial units is expected to be signed in August.

Comprehensive event

The General Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army, General Francisco Javier Varela Salas; the Director-General, Admiral Santiago Ramón González Gómez and the Deputy Director, General Francisco Javier Abajo Merino, of the DGAM, attended the event. The Managing Director of GDELS-SBS; Juan Escriña, Indra’s Executive Director-General of Transport and Defence, Ignacio Mataix; and Sapa’s CEO, Ibon Aperribay, also participated.

Indra Sistemas, Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Sapa Placencia and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering will set up a company that will be in charge of executing the VCR 8×8 programme and dealing with the supply of 348 8×8 VCR series units, as well as maintenance and support through the life cycle and its international commercialisation. These vehicles will be delivered within an estimated period of seven years from the signing of the Programme Agreement.

Partnership

The objective of the firms in this partnership is to satisfy all operational objectives and meet all the needs of the Spanish Army and the Ministry of Defense, while the VCR 8×8 Programme becomes a driving force in the national industry. Along these lines, the development of this programme entails an ambitious National Industrial Plan, which facilitates the maintenance of the design authority in Spain and encourages a high participation of national industry at a percentage of no less than 70%.

The programme will have a special impact in Asturias, Seville, Guipúzcoa and Madrid, where the creation of 650 direct jobs and another 1,000 indirect ones is expected while it will generate industrial property for the national industry and will contribute to preserve national sovereignty over a product that represents an essential capacity for national defence.