Spanish Defense to inject additional 420 million euros into VCR 8x8 Dragon combat vehicle

The Spanish Ministry of Defense will invest a further 420 million euros in the development of the new Army Combat Vehicle on Wheels (VCR) 8x8 Dragon, according to InfoDefensa. The department headed by Margarita Robles has received the go-ahead from the Council of Ministers this week for the expansion of the program's spending ceiling.
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VCR Dragon in IFV variant unveiled at FEINDEF 2021 defense exhibition in Madrid (Picture source: Army Recognition)

At the end of 2018, the Government gave the green light to a spending ceiling of almost 2,100 million euros for the supply of the first series of 348 8x8 VCRs. In August of that same year, Defensa and the company Tess Defence, formed by Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra, Escribano and Sapa, signed the production contract. With the recently approved increase in the spending ceiling, the program will have a budget of 2,500 million euros.

However, the evolution of the program development and evaluation requires a new estimate of the costs. The 420 million will be distributed in the annuities between 2024 and 2028 of the program. Production of the vehicles is already underway. However, the equipment of some versions, such as the Dragon Cavalry Scout Vehicle (SCV’s) turret, remains to be decided. The Defense Ministry has not yet made a decision on whether the weapons station of this variant will be manned and has given Tess Defense until June 30 to present information on the options. The ministry must decide what type of turret the 58 units of this version included in the contract will have.

The increase in the cost ceiling also opens the door to the incorporation of certain systems, such as an active protection (APS), InfoDefensa reports. Its installation is not foreseen in the initial contract but the Army aspires to incorporate such a protection system in the vehicle, with the possible participation of the national industry in its development.

Tess Defence, the company that manages the programme, delivered the first seven serial vehicles, along with the technological demonstrators, in December 2022 at the Santa Bárbara Sistemas facilities in Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville).

Defense News April 2023