Specialized training maintenance for Spanish army's Castor combat engineer vehicle

On November 14, 2023, General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) organized an advanced mechanical maintenance training program for the Spanish Army's Combat Engineer Vehicle (Vczap) Castor. This specialized course, both theoretical and practical, took place at the company's facilities in Alcalá de Guadaira, Sevilla.
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Spanish Army's Combat Engineer Vehicle (Vczap) Castor (Picture source: Ejército de Tierra)

Two maintenance specialists from the Army's Logistic Support Group No. 61 underwent this training to deepen their expertise in maintaining the Castor vehicle, a combat engineer vehicle based on the chassis of the Pizarro tank. The Castor is equipped with various engineering tools such as a blade, mine plow, mine roller, gap marker, and a 12.70 mm Mini Samson remote turret.

The training included dismantling the vehicle's power pack and addressing various mechanical, electronic, and armament issues. Participants also gained knowledge about the vehicle's transmission system. This training enhances the technical knowledge and maintenance skills of the Aalog 61 team, improving the operational efficiency of the units relying on these vehicles.

GDELS-SBS is contracted to supply a batch of 36 Vczap vehicles, including a prototype, to the Spanish Army under the Pizarro Phase 2 program. This program also includes the delivery of 83 Pizarro line infantry combat vehicles.

The Castor program has faced delays due to the vehicle's increased weight and the resulting impact on the power pack. The vehicle is an upgraded version of the Ascod 2 platform by GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, offering enhanced ballistic and anti-mine protection compared to the Pizarro infantry chain vehicles currently in service with the Spanish Army.

Weighing 35 tons, the Castor features an SG850 transmission (similar to Pizarro's) from Sapa, but with improvements from the AC 850 transmission, also by Sapa, designed for armored vehicles weighing between 35 to 55 tons and intended for more demanding usage than the Pizarro.

This training is therefore significant for the future of the Spanish Army's combat engineer operations.