Spanish Castor sapper combat vehicle enters serial production

MADRID ($1=0.94 Euros) — The prototype of the Spanish Army’s Castor [Vczap] sapper combat vehicle passed the qualification trials, in which the various equipment and systems of the new and expected armor were tested for the engineering units of the Ground Forces.

Spanish Castor sapper combat vehicle enters serial production
Photo credit: InfoDefensa

The Ministry of Defense Mrs. Margarita Robles announced the successful completion of these tests. “The Pizarro program office completed the qualification tests of the Castor vehicle with a positive result,” she explains.

The qualification plan includes various tests of the prototype, such as remote weapon firing, breach opening and signaling, bulldozer blade excavation, performance verification, ditching, and fording, etc. The set of conducted tests made it possible to complete the validation of the technical requirements of the real vehicle and qualify the design of [Vczap].

Deliveries between 2023 and 2024

Passing the milestone allows the production of the 35 series cars to begin according to the approved design. The first units of this batch will arrive in the army in the first semester of 2023 and the forecast is that deliveries will continue until 2024, according to the calendar managed by the department headed by Mrs. Margarita Robles.

Employees from the contractor Santa Bárbara Sistemas participated in the qualification tests; of the program office in the General Directorate of Armaments and Materiel [DGAM], with the support of the X Sapper Battalion of Guzmán el Bueno X Brigade of the Army.

The Castor program resulted in several delays related to the increase in vehicle weight and the consequent effects this implied in the drivetrain. The vehicle is based on the Ascod 2 barge platform from GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas, an evolution, with greater ballistic and anti-mine protection, of that, already used by the Pizarro infantry tracked vehicles in service with the Army.

More about Castor

Weighing 35 tons, the Castor has an SG850 transmission [like the Pizarro] from Sapa, but with improvements from the AC 850 transmission also from Sapa for armored vehicles between 35 and 55 tons, designed for an armored vehicle with work more demanding than the Pizarro.

The vehicle includes a range of sapper work attachments such as a shovel, mine plow, mine roller, or gap marker and is equipped with a 12.70mm Mini Samson Rafael remote turret. It can carry up to nine crew members, including the driver. The batch of 36 Castors is part of the Pizarro Phase 2 program, which also includes 83 Pizarro infantry fighting vehicles already delivered.


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