Spain has placed a €1.74bn ($2.06bn) contract to procure 348 8×8 Dragon 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.

Work will also include maintenance and lifecycle support of the vehicles and support for their international commercialisation.

For GDELS-SBS, the contract is valued at €733m ($870m). The JV includes GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra Sistemas, Sapa Placencia, and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering.

GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas managing director Juan Escriña said: “We sincerely thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for its confidence in our vehicle platform, our engineering, and industrial capabilities.

“As a reliable partner, GDELS-Santa Bárbara 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.”

Based on the GDELS 8×8 PIRANHA 5’s combat wheeled vehicle, the Dragon vehicle is equipped with all national technologies as required by the Spanish Ministry of Defense.

The GDELS-SBS JV will manufacture the Dragon vehicles at GDELS sites in Trubia and Seville in Spain, in collaboration with other partners.

Local industry participation will be at least 70%, as mandated in the Spanish MoD’s National Industrial plan.

The deliveries are expected to be made over a seven-year period.

Later, the programme may be expanded to a total of around 1,000 units.

Earlier this year, MASA Group delivered its constructive simulation software, SWORD, for the Spanish Army’s National Training Centre.