Plasan Sasa from Israel to provide armor package for Spanish VCR Dragon 8x8 armored

According to information published on February 1, 2022, Plasan Sasa from Israel has signed a contract with TESS DEFENCE S.A., to provide its advanced armor package for the new Spanish Army’s VCR Dragon 8x8 wheeled combat vehicle.
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A prototype of the VCR Dragon was unveiled at the FEINDEF defense exhibition in Spain, in November 2021. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The contract that was signed by November 2021, covers the first 348 Dragon vehicles. Within the contract scope, Plasan will supply its innovative lightweight and modular RPG protection, branded as Hybrid Slat Fence (HSF), and its unique mine protection solution for underbelly and IED side blast with its corresponding energy absorbing mine seats. Deliveries under this contract will start in January 2022 and will continue until 2026.

Dan Ziv, Plasan CEO, said: "This contract is an important milestone in Plasan‘s effort dedicated to the VCR during the past years and remarkable evidence for Plasan’s unique ability to adapt its technology and solutions to specific platform and customer’s needs. Plasan is proud to take part in this prestigious program of the Spanish MoD and will continue to work closely with TESS DEFENCE S.A. to ensure the successful implementation of the VCR program“

TESS Defence was born as a clear example of industrial collaboration in the defense sector, with the firm objective of safeguarding Spanish strategic capabilities through the management of competitive programs that contribute to the national interest. To this end, Indra Sistemas S.A., Santa Bárbara Sistemas S.A., Sapa Placencia S.L. and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering S.L., leading companies in the sector, have joined forces to form the company that manages the Program for the supply of 348 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR8x8 Dragon) for the Spanish Army.

In August 2020, Spain has placed a €1.74 bn contract to procure 348 8x8 Dragon 8x8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles (VCR). The contract was awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Defense (MoD) to a joint venture (JV) of General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS), as well as three other companies.

In December 2021, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) has announced the start of production of the 8x8 Dragon Wheeled Combat Vehicle (RCV) for the Spanish Armed Forces has started in the Trubia Factory (Asturias) of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas with the cutting of the first steel armor plate. The first series of vehicles of the VCR 8x8 'Dragon', intended to modernize the capabilities of the Spanish Army, is scheduled to be made available in the second semester of 2022.

The VCR Dragon is based on the Piranha V 8x8 armored vehicle designed and manufactured by the Swiss company MOWAG which is now a subdivision of GDELS (General Dynamics European Land System). The vehicle will be manufactured in 13 variants and the Spanish government could procure a total of 1,000 vehicles. The Piranha V has been modified with all national technologies as required by the Spanish Ministry of Defense. The layout of the VCR Dragon is similar to the members of the MOWAG Piranha family with the driver position at the front left, power pack to his right, turret in the center, and troop’s compartment at the rear. The armor of the vehicle incorporates shaped hull plates to increase protection against explosion blast, spacing in the add-on armor, and surface coatings to minimize the thermal and radar signatures.

Based on the protection of the Piranha V, the armor of the VCR Dragon provides protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), 14.5mm armor-piercing rounds through 360°, and 30mm armor-piercing rounds across the 30° frontal arc. The hull provides protection against 8kg anti-tank mines.