The Spanish Ministry of Defence has awarded a €1.74 bn (US$2.06bn) contract to a joint venture of General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) and three other companies to deliver 348 8×8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR), their maintenance and life cycle support, as well as support their international commercialisation. The GDELS-SBS contract is for €733m (US$870m) with the programme expected to grow to a total of approximately 1,000 vehicles.

The vehicle, named “DRAGON” by the Spanish Army, is based on the GDELS 8×8 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.

The GDELS-SBS joint venture (JV) will manufacture the 8×8 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 Defence mandated a National Industrial plan in which Spanish industry participation must be no less than 70 per cent of the total programme. The JV was established to ensure that all operational objectives and needs of the Spanish Army and the Spanish Ministry of Defence are fully met and to fulfill the requirements of the government’s industrial plan. GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas programme participation will involve approximately 650 direct jobs and 1100 indirect employees.