The Spanish Army’s new Dragon 8×8 combat vehicles’ first production units are ready to begin trials after passing their critical design review in late July, the Spanish defense ministry announced.

The review determined that the vehicle design of the infantry fighting vehicles and sapper variants was “mature enough” to begin manufacturing and testing.

The next-generation combat vehicle program had earlier completed its system design phase.

“Overcoming this technical milestone is of vital importance for the proper progress of the program, as it marks the end of the vehicle design stage after several years of work and allows the vehicle to qualify for testing to begin,” the ministry explained.

Tess Defence, a Spanish consortium including Escribano Mechanical & Engineering S.L., GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas S.A., Sapa Placencia S.L. and Indra Sistemas S.A., is expected to deliver seven sapper Dragons for testing this year.

348 Units Under Contract

The consortium has been contracted to deliver 348 Dragon vehicles. However, the order could grow to as many as 1,000 vehicles. The 348 vehicles are scheduled to be delivered by 2027.

Of the current 348 units under contract, there will be 219 infantry fighting vehicles, 58 reconnaissance vehicles, 49 sappers combat vehicles, and 14 command post vehicles.

Vehicle variants will be fitted with remote weapon stations, such as Leonardo’s Hitfist 30mm turret and Escribano’s Guardian 30mm cannon. Some systems will feature Spike LR missile launchers.

Replacing Spain’s VEC-M1s, Pegaso 3560 BMRs

All Dragon combat vehicles are based on the GDELS Piranha V design, with extensive modifications providing more than 60 percent of local content to the platform.

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They will replace Spain’s Pegaso VEC-M1 reconnaissance vehicle and Pegaso 3560 BMR armored personnel carrier in service since the 1980s and 1970s.

The vehicles will be built in Trubia at the General Dynamics European Land Systems factory where a ceremony commemorating the start of construction was held last December.