The Spanish Ministry of Defense awarded a contract valued at $2.06 billion for wheeled combat vehicles to a joint venture of General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) and three other companies (the General Dynamics’ portion of the contract is for $870 million). The contract is for delivery of 348 8 × 8-wheeled combat vehicles along with maintenance and life-cycle support. The long-term ground vehicle supply program is expected to grow to a total volume of about 1,000 wheeled combat vehicles, with vehicles expected to be delivered over a seven-year period.
The Spanish Army refers to the vehicles as “Dragon.” It is based on the GDELS PIRANHA 5, an all-wheel-drive, 8 × 8 wheeled combat vehicle. Juan Escrina, GDELS' vice-president for tracked vehicles & artillery and managing directory of GDELS-Santa Barbara Sistemas, acknowledged: “We sincerely thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for its confidence in our vehicle platform, our engineering, and industrial capabilities.” He added: “As a reliable partner, GDELS-Santa Barbara Sistemas is truly proud to help the Spanish Army protect Spanish soldiers and improve its strategic mobility with state-of-the-art 8 × 8 wheeled combat vehicles.”
The joint venture will manufacture the 8 × 8 vehicles (see figure) at GDELS sites in Trubia and Seville, Spain, collaborating with the other joint venture members, including Indra Sistemes, Sapa Placencia, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering. The Spanish Ministry of Defense had mandated that Spanish industry participation must be no less than 70% of the total program. The joint venture operates to ensure that the operational objectives and needs of the Spanish Army and the Spanish Ministry of Defense are fully met.