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Spain Ready to Supply 50 Advanced ASCOD IFVs Annually as Aid

Ascod 42 IFV from General Dynamics Land Systems / Photo credit: General Dynamics
Ascod 42 IFV from General Dynamics Land Systems / Photo credit: General Dynamics
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The supply of ASCOD infantry fighting vehicles and other weapons is expected within a bilateral security agreement between Ukraine and Spain

Spain is set to support Ukraine with a supply of ASCOD infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), that will be produced by Santa Bárbara Sistemas, a subsidiary of General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS). A detailed proposal for the annual production of up to 50 ASCOD IFVs has been submitted by Santa Bárbara Sistemas to the Spanish Council of Ministers.

This follows a meeting in March 2024 between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and defense industry representatives. The initiative also aligns with the bilateral security agreement between Ukraine and Spain, signed in May, which commits EUR 1 billion in military aid for Kyiv over the next decade.

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The Ascod 42 IFV from General Dynamics Land Systems / Defense Express / Spain Ready to Supply 50 Advanced ASCOD IFVs Annually as Aid
The Ascod 42 IFV from General Dynamics Land Systems / Photo credit: General Dynamics

According to Spanish newspaper El Comercio, the proposal is currently under discussion within the government. InfoDefensa, a digital publication specializing in security and defense, clarifies that other defense companies, including ammunition manufacturers, have also submitted their plans and offers.

Defense Express notes that for Spain, ordering weapons for Ukraine from its domestic manufacturers is a strategic investment in its national defense capabilities as well. Moreover, Santa Bárbara Sistemas operates under GDELS, the European arm of the American defense giant General Dynamics, therefore it's not just about the interests of Spanish weapon makers alone.

In this context, an important detail is that Ukraine was seeking to localize production of ASCOD on its territory. In September 2023, Ukrainian Armor LLC announced negotiations with GDELS for the potential joint production of ASCOD IFVs for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

By December 2023, the project was still under negotiation within Ukraine, with the Ministry of Defense expected to finalize requirements for the IFV. Later, the CEO of Ukrainian Armor confirmed that before negotiating the localization of production, a test batch will be purchased.

Besides, ASCOD faces competition in Ukraine from the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90. The Ukrainian military had planned to acquire up to 1,000 units of the CV90, known in Sweden as Stridsfordon 90. Defense Express has previously detailed the ASCOD vs. CV90 "rivalry in absentia," emphasizing the importance of localization as a critical factor in procurement decisions.

ASCOD with a tank turret / Defense Express / Spain Ready to Supply 50 Advanced ASCOD IFVs Annually as Aid
ASCOD with a tank turret / Illustrative photo credit: GDELS

For a brief reminder, the ASCOD is a tracked platform with a maximum weight of up to 42 tons and a modular architecture. This design allows for the installation of modern armor providing protection against automatic guns, and mounting a range of powerful weapons, making the armored platform adaptable for various roles, even could turn it into a fire support vehicle with a tank gun. For example, the newest light tank of the US Army, the M10 Booker, is based on ASCOD.

The M10 Booker vehicle / Defense Express / Spain Ready to Supply 50 Advanced ASCOD IFVs Annually as Aid
The M10 Booker combat vehicle / Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Current operators of the ASCOD include the United Kingdom, which has the most vehicles of this type and knows them under the name Ajax; Austria also used this vehicle as the basis for its Ulan IFV; and Spain, that developed its Pizarro IFV on the same platform. The Philippines, a non-NATO customer, ordered Sabrah light tanks based on the ASCOD in 2020.

Read more: What's the Progress with ASCOD Production in Ukraine, Company Representative Explains