At the International Armoured Vehicle Conference IAV in London, the head of the Directorate for Weapon Systems Procurement, Brigadier General Francisco Javier Romero Mari, reported on the classification and progress of the Dragón armament programme.

The Spanish Army is undergoing a comprehensive transformation process to become the Army 2035, in which the Brigade 2035 will be realised in a new structure and equipped with new equipment. Romero cited the combat engineer tank VCZ (Vehículo de Combate de Zapadores) Castor and the multipurpose support vehicle on track VAC (Vehículo de Apoyo a Cadenas), both based on the Pizarro infantry fighting vehicle, as well as the wheeled tank VCR (vehículo de combate sobre ruedas) Dragón based on the Piranha V as outstanding examples.

Delivery of the Dragón 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles for the Spanish armed forces began with the handover of the first vehicles shortly before the beginning of the year. According to Romero, Spain has ordered 348 Dragón in the first phase. Of these, 219 are to be configured as infantry combat vehicles, 49 as engineer combat vehicles, 14 as command vehicles, eight for forward observers and 58 reconnaissance vehicles.

After the seven vehicles already delivered in 2022, 34 vehicles are to follow this year. Next year, the delivery schedule foresees 71 Dragón, in 2025 there will be 90 and in 2026, with 94 units, the highest delivery rate will be achieved. The first phase will be completed with 52 vehicles in 2027.

In the second phase, the Spanish Army plans to order 365 Dragón, for delivery in years 2027 to 2035. The 288 vehicles in the third phase are to be delivered from 2035. After that, the army will have a total of 1001 armoured 8×8 Dragón at its disposal from about 2040. By then, the first seven vehicles delivered a few weeks ago will be almost twenty years old.

Gerhard Heiming