General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas Presents and Delivers the First Leopardo 2E Tanks to the Spanish Army
Category: Defence Industry
Category: Defence Industry
SEVILLE, Spain --- General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas (GD SBS) presented last June 17th 2004 in its Seville factory the first Leopardo 2E Main Battle Tank (MBT) for the Spanish Army in an official ceremony chaired by His Majesty Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain, with the presence of more than one hundred civil and military authorities as well as executives of the defense sector.
The unveiling of the first Leopardo 2E with the Spanish colors and banners took place at the semianecoic chamber, one of the biggest in Europe, manufactured on purpose at the factory of Las Canteras to undertake electromagnetic tests, in the presence of the President of General Dynamics Corporation, Nicholas D.
Chabraja, the Spanish Ministry of Defense, Jose Bono, and the President of the Board of GD SBS, Antonio de Oyarzabal. Following, His Majesty the King made a tour through the workshops were the final assembly of the Leopardo takes place and got to know in detail the whole process. Thereafter, he went to the test track to attend a dynamic exhibition of the MBT and recovery units, the last ones put at the disposal of the Spanish Army. Finally, he had the opportunity to see the differences and improvements existing between the Spanish Leopardo 2E, the most modern of this sort, and the Leopardo 2A4, in service in Spain through a lease system.
As part of the static exhibition other products from the GD SBS Group were shown like the armored Pizarro and BMR, the Howitzer 155/52 and the amphibious M-3. In his short speech, the President of General Dynamics, Nicholas D. Chabraja, stated that "the Leopardo program has been an historic effort and has been characterized by cooperation among European governments, Spain´s national industries and private industries from Spain and across Europe. I applaud everyone who has been involved for their achievements". "It is an honor to be here today to witness the delivery of the first Spanish Leopardo tank to the Kingdom of Spain - he said.
This is a significant step forward in equipping the Spanish military with one of the world`s most powerful ground-based defensive combat systems, which will help ensure Spain`s future security as well as its place among peace-loving nations". Mr. Chabraja added that as President of GD, "this first delivery is proof that it was a correct decision to utilize the more than half-century of experience in manufacturing tracked armored combat vehicles that Santa Barbara Sistemas brings to the program. That was our belief when we first considered acquiring Santa Barbara Sistemas and it is the vision that drives us forward into the future".
Mr. Chabraja also stated that: "Santa Barbara Sistemas is now firmly part of the General Dynamics family, and both are stronger for it. For us, today`s delivery is another opportunity to display how good a job the workers, managers and leadership of Santa Barbara Sistemas and General Dynamics can do for Spain, and our commitment that we will continue to meet the requirements of Spain`s Armed Forces into the future", concluded. Among other personalities there were also present, the President of the Government of Andalusia, Manuel Chaves; the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (NATO), General James Jones; the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (Spain), Admiral Antonio Moreno Barberá; Army Chief of Staff (Spain), General Luis Alejandre Sintes, and Mr.
Manfred Bode, President of the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW), the main technological partner. In 1998, the Spanish government agreed to contract 219 tanks of the Leopardo 2E line, 16 recovery tanks (CREC) and 4 training vehicles. They choose Santa Barbara Sistemas as the main contractor. The program, with a budget of 1,939.4 million Euros, includes also the integrated logistical support, training courses for crew instructors and maintenance engineers and driving, tower, maintenance, aiming and shooting simulators. To face this industrial challenge, Santa Barbara Sistemas made total investments of 35.
3 million Euros, mainly in its factories of Sevilla, Trubia (Asturias), La Coruña and Oviedo. The main items were allocated to the construction of new facilities and the acquisition of production and test equipment. The Leopardo 2E Program represents a total of 2.6 million working hours (hours of manpower in direct labor). The Spanish government stipulated that the percentage of participation of the national industry had to be at least of a 60 per cent, this figure will probably be exceeded. The industrial structure included tens of Spanish and German companies. The most representative Spanish companies, besides from GD SBS, are INDRA (combat system), IZAR (engine), SAPA (transmission, chains and final steps), AMPER (communications) and ELECTROOP (stabilization).
General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas, which employs approximately 2,300 people in nine facilities in Spain and Germany, is the Spanish Army`s main supplier of combat vehicles and ammunition. The company has production contracts for the Spanish Leopardo MBT main battle tank, the Pizarro Infantry Fighting vehicles and the 155/52 APU SIAC Howitzer, in addition to other systems, and its products are marketed in 47 countries. General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 68,400 people worldwide and anticipates 2004 revenue of $19 billion.
The company is a market leader in mission-critical information systems and technologies; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and business aviation.