Spanish Armed Forces acquire 663 VAMTACs fitted with Allison automatic transmissions from UROVESA
16th September 2020

MADRID, Spain The Spanish Ministry of Defence has awarded UROVESA, a provider of special off-road vehicles for civil and defence missions worldwide, a contract for the delivery of 663 VAMTAC ST5 high mobility tactical vehicles, between 2020 and 2025. This versatile modular vehicle is designed to withstand the toughest working conditions, combining excellent mobility with a high payload. All vehicles will be fitted with Allison 1000 SeriesTM automatic transmissions. The VAMTACs in the Spanish Ministry of Defense order include 135 kW and 180 kW Steyr diesel engines.

The VAMTACs will be supplied in three different configurations:

  • Unarmoured or lightly armoured “High Mobility Tactical” vehicles
  • “High-Protection” vehicles, which are heavily armoured against bullets, anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
  • Vehicles equipped with deep fording systems, which are heavily armoured and offer the additional capacity of being able to operate for two hours in salt water at depths of up to 1.5 m, making them ideal for landing operations.

First manufactured in 1998 by UROVESA in Spain, the VAMTAC platform can adapt to different bodywork, loads, power outputs, equipment and accessories enabling multiple configurations. VAMTACs incorporate all features required defence use: an all-wheel drive system which enables the vehicle to move at full load on a single wheel without losing traction; the possibility of being parachuted from low altitudes and carried by helicopter as an external load; compatibility with kerosene-derived aviation fuel; and a driver-activated central tyre inflation system.

“Allison Transmission made a significant contribution to our submission to the Spanish Ministry of Defence, providing technical expertise in the process of fine-tuning the prototypes,  integrating and validating them with the engine chosen by our company,” said Justo Sierra, President and CEO at UROVESA.

UROVESA will supply these multipurpose vehicles to the Spanish army, air force and navy. Other armed forces and security forces, such as the civil guard, may also make use of the vehicles. “The goal is for all our armed forces to use the same equipment. This enables optimisation of logistical resources, training, maintenance and spare parts,” said Sierra. “Moreover, the VAMTAC can be configured for up to 20 different applications, including ambulances, personnel carriers, mobile command vehicles and missile carriers.”

In these difficult times, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, UROVESA vehicles have played a major role in helping the Spanish Armed Forces to disinfect care homes and other institutional buildings, and in supervising the security of critical infrastructures.

Allison’s official distributor in Spain, Transdiesel, played a key role in advising UROVESA on the selection of the most suitable transmission and accessories and carried out the onsite vehicle application and performance studies. In addition, Transdiesel supplied parts, parameterised the electronic controls in accordance with vehicle usage requirements and carried out a review of installations.

“Allison fully automatic transmissions are perfectly suited to these types of vehicles and are also extremely reliable. The ease of use and acceleration afforded by these transmissions, which would not be possible with manual transmissions, enables vehicles to climb grades of over 45 degrees, so greater than 100%,” said Jérôme Zanon, CEO at Transdiesel. “Allison fully automatic transmissions are widely used for defence applications. The VAMTAC achieves maximum performance through power-to-weight ratio optimisation, making it a vehicle of choice for many armies and special forces operations worldwide.”

“Through the years, Allison has remained faithful to values that continue to be a hallmark of the company today: quality, reliability, durability, the quest for state-of-the-art technology and commitment to our clients,” said Trond Johansen, Market Development Manager at Allison Transmission in Spain. “With extensive experience in the design and production of automatic transmissions for defense vehicles, Allison is now providing its expertise and technology to equip the VAMTAC ST5s for the Spanish Armed Forces.”

Allison: a multitude of benefits for military applications

Allison transmissions are widely used in the defense sector and offer all the features needed for these challenging applications. These include a compact propulsion, steering and braking system for enhanced stability and precision. Allison’s transmission-mounted Power Take-Off (PTO) provide installation flexibility and the ability to provide power to vehicle-mounted specialty equipment such as hydraulic pumps and mechanical fan drives.

“Allison 1000 Series transmissions and Electronic Controls provide three main advantages,” said Sierra. “Firstly, great ergonomics and driving comfort, enabling vehicle operators to drive in high-risk environments and tough conditions (instability, brusque vibrations, poor traction, etc.) with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, without having to worry about gear-shift errors. Secondly, the great reliability of the engine mechanics and the entire drivetrain. And, thirdly, excellent durability.”

Allison and UROVESA: joint vision of a bright future

UROVESA is gradually entering specialised markets and the company is reinforcing its position in the European market through increased participation in procurement procedures and projects. In 1989, UROVESA became the first vehicle manufacturer in Spain to fit its civil and defence off-road vehicles with Allison transmissions. Since then, the company has manufactured over 7,000 vehicles with Allison automatic transmissions. “The result has been a complete success in terms of both customer satisfaction and reliability. There have been practically no incidents,” said Sierra.