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IAV 2022: Dragón IFV spearheads Spain's Army 35 transformation programme

The first seven Dragón IFVs will be delivered in 2022. (Spanish MoD)

Janes learned details of Spain's Dragón infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) programme at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference held in London from 24 to 27 January. The IFV was described as the spearhead of Spain's Army 35 and as the most representative of that transformation programme.

Based on Spain's experience with improvised explosive devices in Lebanon and Afghanistan during the past couple of decades, an important emphasis of the programme is protection, with the IFV featuring NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4569 levels covering light armoured vehicles.

The 33-tonne vehicle has a speed of more than 100 km/h and a range of 500 km. It is air-transportable by A400M.

The Dragón will be armed with a Bushmaster II 30 mm gun, with ammunition including airburst munition, plus a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. The tank hunter version will be armed with Spike LR2 missiles. A decision on whether the turret will be manned or unmanned is expected in 2023.

The first of 348 tranche 1 vehicles, a combat engineer vehicle (CEV), is expected to be delivered later this year, to be followed by the IFV in 2023, the command post (CP) and forward observer versions in 2024, and the reconnaissance vehicle in 2025. The Dragón's initial operational capability is planned for 2024, when the first company will be formed, expanded to a task force in 2025, and a brigade in 2027. The second tranche of 348 vehicles is expected to include mortar and armoured recovery vehicles.

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