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FEINDEF 2023: Spain's new Dragon Infantry Fighting Vehicle to replace aging Pegaso BMR.

| 2023

At FEINDEF 2023, the IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) version of the Dragon was displayed for the first time to the public. The future Dragon 8x8 armored vehicle will replace the old Pegaso BMR, a wheeled armored vehicle currently in service with the Spanish army.
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The IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle version of the Dragon 8x8 armored vehicle was displayed at FEINDEF 2023, a defense exhibition in Madrid, Spain. (Picture source Army Recognition)

On June 23, 2020, the Spanish government revealed its approval for the production of 348 VCR 8x8 armored combat vehicles, an order believed to be worth approximately €2 billion. The production of the vehicle is to be handled by a consortium of Spanish defense companies including Indra Sistemas, General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS), Sapa Placencia, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering. The bulk of the manufacturing process, about 70%, will be carried out by Spanish firms in various locations such as Asturias, Madrid, and Seville.

The VCR Dragon, a derivative of the Piranha V, is being manufactured by MOWAG, a Swiss company now operating under General Dynamics European Land System (GDELS). There are plans to construct 13 different models of the vehicle, and it's estimated that the Spanish government may purchase up to 1,000 units. The vehicle has been adjusted using Spanish technologies to align with the requirements laid out by the Spanish Ministry of Defense.

Constructed with Piranha V technologies, the VCR Dragon includes a modern, fully encompassing, modular defense system that has been incorporated into the design from the earliest stages of conceptualization. This system provides an unparalleled level of protection, particularly in traditionally vulnerable areas such as the wheel wells, which are often targeted by IEDs in wheeled armored combat vehicles.

The VCR Dragon's configuration bears similarities to other members of the MOWAG Piranha family. The driver's seat is positioned at the front left of the vehicle, with the power pack adjacent to the right, followed by the turret in the middle and the compartment for troops at the rear. The vehicle's armor includes shaped hull plates designed to improve blast resistance, spacing within the add-on armor, and surface coatings to minimize thermal and radar detection.

The IFV version of the Dragon will be fitted with an unmanned turret designed and manufactured by the Spanish company Escribano Mechanical and Engineering. The new Remote Weapon System (RWS) Guardian 30 was specially designed for the new Spanish Army project VCR 8x8 Dragon combat vehicle.

Spain new Dragon Infantry Fighting Vehicle to replace aging Pegaso BMR FEINDEF 2023 925 002
The Dragon IFV version is fitted with an unmanned weapon system armed with a 30mm automatic cannon. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Guardian 30, a land system developed by Escribano, features an ATK Orbital MK.44S as its main firearm. This reliable 30 mm gun can be upgraded to 40mm and is currently integrated into the naval RWS Sentinel 30. This system is operational in the BAP Pisco of the Peruvian Army, and will soon be installed in Spanish "Seviola" ships.

The Guardian 30 utilizes state-of-the-art ballistic calculation technology to achieve exceptional long-range shooting accuracy. The firing system is bolstered by two cutting-edge electro-optical systems built on the well-established OTEOS electro-optical technology created by Escribano. This system is globally employed by military forces and security agencies for surveillance and military operations.

Guardian 30 is equipped with the latest sensors and cameras, enabling it to function in all weather conditions, be it day or night, thereby enhancing its detection, reconnaissance, surveillance, and precision capabilities. Furthermore, this electro-optical system is apt for hunter-killer type missions. RWS Guardian 30 is also designed with an embedded simulation feature, facilitating efficient and effective training for gunners.

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