The Spanish Government gave the green light yesterday Tuesday to acquire the Army’s Chain Support Vehicle (VAC).

The Ministry of Defense has been authorized to initiate a contract valued at almost 2,000 million euros (specifically, 1,953,719,008 euros) to develop a new multi-purpose tracked armored vehicle. This new vehicle will replace the M133 TOA. In the program’s initial phase, 394 units will be purchased in various configurations.

At the beginning of April, the financial framework of the program was approved. However, the official launch of the project awaited the approval of this contract. The Ministry of Defense is now preparing to start the bidding process. The contract is expected to be awarded to the Spanish consortium Tess Defense in the coming months. This consortium, made up of Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra, Sapa Placencia and Escribano, is also responsible for the VCR 8×8 Dragón program.

After the meeting of the Council of Ministers, it was detailed that the VAC, in its different combat and logistic support variants, will replace the Armored Caterpillar Transport (TOA) vehicles in operational and logistic missions. The TOAM113 is an American-designed and manufactured Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

The new vehicles will improve the mobility, protection and firepower capabilities of the Spanish Army, complementing the Leopardo 2E main battle tanks, the VCI Pizarro vehicles and future systems that are expected to replace them in the next three decades.

The VAC will be based on the Ascod platform of Santa Bárbara Sistemas. Both the Pizarro infantry fighting vehicle and the Castor sappers are based on the Ascod. At the recent Feindef show, Tess Defense showed off a prototype of the future vehicle, fitted with Escribano’s new 120mm mortar turret.

Spain has also confirmed that the new armored vehicle will offer high protection against mines, IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and projectiles of a specific caliber. It will be available in several versions, including command post, personnel carrier, mortar carrier, anti-tank, ambulance, recovery, and cargo.

According to the plans of the Spanish Army, the transition from the TOA M113 to the future VAC will be gradual over the next decade, concluding in 2035. The Army intends to phase out all its M113 TOAs for that year. The decommissioning process has already begun, with plans to retire more than half of the vehicles currently in operation, reducing the number from 1,250 to around 600 in the initial phase.

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