Santa Barbara Sistemas will provide the Infantry and Cavalry Combat Vehicles (VCI / C) Pizarro Phase II of the Spanish Army after the award of the General Directorate for Armaments Acquisitions and for logistical and operational elements for 14.4 million euros. The Spanish company was chosen to supply this equipment because, according to the Ministry of Defense, it is the only company technically qualified to carry out the project from a technical point of view.
As we analyzed last October, after the approval of this contract in the Council of Ministers, it will be logistical elements related to aspects of the life cycle of armored vehicles, as well as elements that complement their operational configuration for both infantry / cavalry combat vehicles ( VCI / C) and Pioneer Combat Vehicles (VCZAP). For example, it could be the set of devices for its specific mission that the VCZAP needs, as we have already analyzed at this point in time.
As the reference of the Council of Ministers then collects, the Pizarro Phase 2 vehicles will be delivered in the versions of the Sapper Combat Vehicles (VCZAP) and the Infantry Combat Vehicles (VCI / C) in the coming years. That statement has been inaccurate, to say the least, since the Army received the last Pizarro phase 2 armor in 2017. Only the VCZAP (Castor Sapper Combat Vehicle) program is running, from which 36 units are built. Recall that the revision of the special weapons programs left phase 2 of the Pizarro program in a meager 117 vehicles, of which 83 are VCI / C vehicles, while the remaining 36 are from the Castor version mentioned above, which is an evolution of the ASCOD , on which Pizarro phases 1 and 2 are based.
Phase 2 of Pizarro
The process of delivering the first Pizarro Phase 2 units began in January 2016 to the Cantabria I / 6 Battalion. These are the first deliveries of the planned batch of 117 vehicles in this second phase, a smaller number compared to the planned 212 vehicles that were originally intended to be purchased by this vehicle to add to the 144 in Phase I. This reduction was the result of the successive budget cuts that the Ministry of Defense has suffered from in recent years, largely due to the economic crisis.
Hence, the army will eventually have 261 of these Infantry Combat Vehicles (VCI) between the two phases, which have versions of Infantry or Cavalry Combat, Command Post, Forward Observer and Combat Recovery for Engineer. .
Phase II of the vehicle includes a variety of improvements over the original design. Initially it is a slightly larger vehicle, as both the length and height of 6.9 m have been increased. to 7.1 and from 2.6 to 2.7. The increase in width is due to the use of thicker side skirts, which offer better protection and a lower thermal signature.
Changes to the outside continue with a redesigned tailgate as well as the arrangement of the storage areas in the tower. The interior of the tower has been redesigned and offers a new layout for more ergonomics. The ballistic computer, the control unit and the command of the vehicle chief as well as the screens for displaying the data of the chief and the shooter have been replaced.
The mechanical assembly was changed, including replacing the 600 hp MTU 8V 183 TE22 engine with the same 710 hp MTU 8V 199 TE20 engine. both worn by Ulan, Pizarro’s Austrian cousin, both emerged from the ASCOD program. Along with the new engine, the Renk gearbox carried by the first versions has been replaced by the new SAPA SG-850 gearbox, which we at dealt with due to its extended functions.
As a result, the weight of the vehicle has increased and the fuel capacity has decreased from 610 to 555 liters of fuel, which means less autonomy. The changes introduced require drivers to be retrained to adapt to the new performance and layout of the vehicle.
The VCZAP itself was analyzed in detail in this medium. In January last year we updated the keys for her inclusion in the Army. (Jos M Navarro Garca)
Photo: The Castor Sapper vehicle for the army (Author)
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