Nexter, the French land armaments' group, has an unlikely Spanish partner -- better known for its involvement in space than vehicles – in the Vehiculo Blindado Ruedas 8x8 (VBR 8x8) competition to provide Spain with 300 8x8 armored vehicles. A short-list is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
The joint venture, Ibersystems de Defensa, is held 80% by Nexter and 20% by GTD, a Barcelona-based, 23-year old advanced software engineering firm with 250 employees. It is bidding Nexter's VBCI against General Dynamics and its Spanish subsidiary Santa Barbara offering the Piranha IV/V, Iveco-Oto Melara, which is offering the Freccia infantry fighting vehicle, Rheinmetall with its Boxer and Patria (Lockheed Martin would be the prime contractor) teamed up with Spanish firm Iturri submitting its AMV.
photo credit: Selvejp
Philippe Burtin, Nexter's CEO, said at a press conference this morning in Paris to present the company's results (which were good: at €887 million, 53% up on 2008) that if Ibersystems won the bid, then Nexter would set up a second final assembly line for the VBCI in Spain with Spanish sourcing. “Spain wants 60% industrial return on this program,” he said.
GTD notably developed the Jupiter 2 control center at the French Guyana space port in Kourou, and is involved in launchers, space vehicles, satellites and experimental space vehicles. But GTD also develops mission systems for vehicles and together with Thales manufactures the 4x4 Bushmaster highly protected mobility patrol vehicle for Spain.