MADRID — The Piranha 5 has been chosen as the future 8x8 armored fighting vehicle of the Spanish Army. Three Spanish companies — Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra and Sapa — will develop a first research and development (R&D) contract of €89.2 million (US $99 million) in a temporary joint venture basis.

Santa Bárbara Sistemas is the Spanish branch company of General Dynamics European Land Systems.

The name of this temporary joint venture will be "UTE VCR 8x8," the Spanish government said Friday after the Council of Ministers, which approved the prefinancial agreement. With this contract, Piranha 5 platform gets its first client.

According to Spanish sources, the R&D contract will develop six different technological projects related to security measures, situational awareness, long-range vision, fuel efficiency for engines, and command and control. After three years of R&D, the Ministry of Defense plans to sign a future agreement to construct 400 units in Spain.

"This Piranha 5 of the Spanish Army will be an armored vehicle that will be able to be exported with a '100 percent Spanish' model," the Spanish Ministry of Defense told Defense News. This means the Spanish joint venture will have the "design authority" of the project.

Indra is the main Spanish technological defense company, and Sapa offers a range of products in the fields of transmissions, control electronics, power electronics and electrical machines.

General Dynamics is already working on the prototype required by the Spanish Army. Original Piranha 5 was designed by Mowag (Swiss branch of General Dynamics), which has built Piranhas for more than 20 armies. The US Army's Stryker vehicle is also inspired by the Piranha family.

New Spanish F-110 frigate 

The "100 percent Spanish" Piranha 5 is one of three new military programs boosted by the Spanish government, together with a new F-110 frigate project for the Navy and the acquisition of four US Reaper surveillance drones for Air Force.

The F-110 frigates will be developed by state-owned Navantia and Indra in another temporary joint venture called "PROTEC 110" in a first R&D contract of €135.3 million (US $ 150.3 million).

Email: evillarejo@defensenews.com

Twitter: @villarejo

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