The Spanish MoD introduced on 28 December the conclusion of the qualification assessments with the prototype of the VCZAP (Vehículo de Combate de Zapadores) Castor armoured engineering automobile in Spanish. The Castor is a growth of the ASCOD armoured combating automobiles utilized by the Spanish Armed Forces and Austrian Armed Forces. The programme enters now serial manufacturing with the supply of 35 platforms scheduled for 2023 and 2024. The Castor was authorized in a number of trials together with firing with a distant weapon, opening and signalling breaches, digging in with a dozer blade and trenching and fording, amongst others.

The principle model of the VCZAP Castor is the ASCOD II tracked infantry combating automobile. It follows a traditional structure with a front-mounted engine and a rear compartment for the dismounts. The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Improvement) armoured combating automobile household is the product of a cooperation settlement between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spanish Common Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas (each firms are actually divisions of a unit of Common Dynamics). In Spanish service, the automobile is named “Pizarro”, whereas the Austrian model is named “Ulan”.


Spanish Military Castor (ASCOD II) Armored Engineering Automobile. (Picture by Spanish MoD)

The ASCOD chassis has been used for quite a lot of automobiles in Spanish service and quite a few non-public ventures developed for the export market. Other than the IFV model, the ASCOD has been provided as mild tank and scout automobile. The ASCOD Direct Hearth mild tank can mount quite a lot of totally different business turrets with 105 or 120 mm tank weapons. It’s anticipated to weigh about 30 tonnes. An improved model of the ASCOD, known as ASCOD 2, has been developed by Common Dynamics and was offered in 2004. The ASCOD 2 makes use of the extra highly effective MTU 8V 199T21 engine, which supplies an output of 600 kilowatts (800 hp), along with a Renk HSWL 256 B transmission and Diehl 1028 tracks.

The Castor nonetheless belongs to the second part (fase II) as an alternative of Spanish Military Pizarro fase III program. The Pizarro fase II contains 83 Pizarro II tracked infantry combating automobiles and 36 Castor engineer automobiles. In 2022, Elbit chosen to provide mild tanks to Philippine Military. Apparently, Sabrah mild tank is predicated on the chassis of Castor engineering automobile, a by-product of Spanish Pizarro II IFV, which is manufactured by Spanish armored automobiles producer Common Dynamics European Land Methods – Santa Bárbara Sistemas – (GDELS-SBS), part of American aerospace and defence firm Common Dynamics.