This expanded family of wheeled armoured vehicles was originally developed as a result of field experience gained with the earlier Dragoon 300 4 × 4 carrier design. The Dragoon 300 was originally developed by Verne Corporation and marketed by Arrowpointe Corporation.
In 1984, the two companies merged to form the privately held AV Technology Corporation, a company then owned by the two founders of Verne and Arrowpointe Corporations.
The latest design of Dragoon has been purchased by the US military and several foreign governments and is available in 10 different variants. One- and two-man turrets are available that have been easily adapted to a variety of other armoured vehicles.
The current Dragoon, like its predecessors, makes extensive use of proven US military, NATO and world class commercial components. There is more than 70 per cent logistics commonality with in-service tactical vehicle fleets such as the now BAE Systems, Ground Systems Division M113A2 series full-tracked APC and the AM General M809 and M939 series of 6 × 6 5-ton (US) tactical trucks used by many countries. It should be noted that neither of these vehicles are in current production.
The first production vehicles were completed for the US Army and Navy in 1983. Since then, Venezuela, Thailand and the US Navy have placed orders for Dragoon armoured vehicles, which have subsequently been delivered.
In 1988, AV Technology Corporation introduced the Dragoon Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs) and the Patroller (ASV-XC) to police departments and other law enforcement agencies around the world. AV Technology Corporation has already delivered the standard ASV to some police departments, and the newly designed Patroller ASV-XC (extended cab) to the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, for use by security police at John F Kennedy Airport. Similar vehicles have also been sold to the Macomb County Sheriff Department, Houston Police Department, Detroit Police Department and Sureté de Quebec.
Late in 1998, AV Technology, then owned by General Dynamics Land Systems, prime contractor for the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT), secured loan guarantees for the 140 Dragoon (4 × 4) Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) that it expected to build for the Turkish National Police.
The company had sought a USD38 million loan guarantee from the US Export-Import Bank for the deal. The Export-Import Bank then asked the US State Department to review the deal to determine as to whether it violated the law because the Turkish National Police Units have been accused of torture and various other human rights abuses.
In the end the US State Department decided that the US loan guarantee could be used to finance 101 Dragoon vehicles going to the police in 32 provinces but not the remaining 39 vehicles for 11 provinces where there have been credible reports of abuse. General Dynamics Land Systems used its funds to guarantee the remaining 39 vehicles.
Late in 2002, General Dynamics confirmed that production of the Dragoon series of 4 × 4 vehicles had been completed, but production could commence if further orders were placed. All future production of the Dragoon family of vehicles will be undertaken at the facilities of General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas in Spain, where all of the production tooling has now been transferred.
The hull of the current Dragoon is constructed of high-hardness steel ballistic plate, which meets MIL-A-12560 and is of monocoque construction with welded seams. The standard ballistic resistance of the Dragoon is 7.62 mm NATO ball (147 g M80 2,750 ft/s) with a 0.95 probability of no penetration at 0 m and 0° obliquity on all surfaces. Additional armour protection is available that upgrades the protection to 7.62 mm NATO AP (147 g M80 2,800 ft/s) with 0.95 probability of no penetration on the front, rear, sides and top of the vehicle.
The hull has an angular surface on the front, right and left sides, which projects outward from the top and bottom, meeting at the mid-section around the perimeter. The rear surface of the hull projects outward from the bottom at an angle of 25° vertical. The basic design of the hull provides for easy changes of configuration. The Dragoon is coated with a two-part epoxy primer and can be top coated with CARC. The interior of the vehicle is finished with a heavy-duty epoxy coating.
The two double-width side doors are 1.066 m wide and 0.889 m high. The rear door is 0.609 m wide and 0.916 m high. There are three hatches on the top of the vehicle. All doors and hatches allow for swift entry and exit while providing security and watertightness. Power up and power down adjustment of the driver and co-driver seats allows the vehicle to be driven with the hatches open. When the seats are lowered, visibility is through the vision blocks. The driver has four vision blocks, which provide him with a 180° field of view, while the commander has two vision blocks, giving him a view of the front and right side of the vehicle. An optional weather cover kit with a windshield and wiper is available for the driver and co-driver, to be used with the hatches open in adverse weather or temperatures. The vehicle is equipped with two outside rear-view mirrors. The standard vehicle comes fitted with 12 ballistic vision blocks, which are located for easy viewing from all sides of the vehicle by seated personnel.
There is seating for 12 occupants including the driver and all seats are equipped with seat belts. Other optional seating arrangements are available to meet specific requirements. There are five gun ports, two each side and one in the rear that will allow the use of hand-held weapons. All have ballistic covers that can be positively secured from the inside of the vehicle.
Radio and internal communications can be easily mounted in the hull. Mounting pads and power for the more common AN/VRC-12 family of radios are standard in the Dragoon, but other radio communication systems have been installed and special configurations can be tailored to meet user specifications.
The Dragoon comes with a 50,000 BTU heating system and a 30,000 BTU air conditioning system as standard. There are seven adjustable direct-flow air ducts mounted for easy access and for even distribution throughout the crew compartment. There is an additional heater in the front area of the vehicle that provides an extra level of comfort.
The 24 V water-resistant electrical system is equipped with a master power switch, two 100 Ah heavy-duty batteries and a 200 A heavy-duty radio-suppressed military-type alternator. The Dragoon is equipped with blackout headlights with high and low beam selection, stop and tail lamps, instrument lights, interior lights, a horn and turn signals, all mounted in protected areas. An optional 1 million candlepower spotlight is available and it can be mounted to the top hatch ring mount for 360° rotation.
A fixed Halon fire extinguisher system is installed with direct discharge into the engine compartment, and there are two hand-held Halon fire extinguishers installed in the crew compartment.
The power pack system allows for the fast and easy removal of the complete engine, transmission, hydraulic, cooling and electrical system. This is removed as a single unit in less than 30 minutes without any loss of operating fluids or Freon from the air conditioning system. Power packs can be quickly exchanged between vehicles without any modifications.
The Dragoon has a patented cooling system including a thermostatically controlled two-speed hydraulically driven fan. This allows all vehicles to operate in a temperature range of -25° to +125°F. All routine operator fluid checks are easily accessed at the engine hood opening on the top of the vehicle. Engine oil and hydraulic filters are the spin-on type for quick service and preventative maintenance.
The Dragoon is equipped with two 170 litre armoured fuel tanks and includes an emergency fuel pump prime system. This feature is used in the event of the main fuel pump failing or to prime the engine if it should run out of fuel.
The Allison Transmission MT-653 heavy-duty five-speed forward and single-speed reverse transmission has a torque converter that locks up in the fourth and fifth gears providing better fuel economy. The single-speed transfer case has an easy quick-disconnect four-bolt universal joint to the drive shaft. This allows for rapid removal of the power pack. The Dragoon's single-speed in/out transfer box allows for selection of two- or four-wheel drive at any safe speed without stopping. The hydraulic system has an engine-mounted three-section hydraulic pump that supplies hydraulic fluid to the winch, power steering, cooling fan, brakes, power seat and other optional accessory features such as the 10 kW generator.
Front and rear axles are standard off-the-shelf heavy-duty Rockwell military type (the same axles used on the 6 × 6 M939). The axles may be equipped with the optional Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) which increases flotation and traction by the driver selecting and automatically adjusting tyre pressure for different terrain types. All Dragoons are equipped with power brakes and a disc-type parking brake.
Power steering is equipped with a manual override in the event of power loss. The front and rear leaf springs have a capacity of 12,700 kg and 304 mm of suspension travel. The heavy-duty shock-absorbers are interchangeable. Military standard all-terrain tyres may be equipped with a run-flat device that permits continuous operation.
The Dragoon is fully amphibious, propelled by all wheels. Turning is accomplished by steering the front wheels. There are three electric bilge pumps with a capacity of 190 litres/min. All Dragoons come equipped with a front-mounted hydraulic self-recovery winch that has 53.34 m of cable.
Armoured personnel carrier
The Dragoon armoured personnel carrier (also referred to as an armoured security vehicle) is the base vehicle configuration and is a fully equipped vehicle capable of carrying 12 occupants with equipment. It is outfitted for use as a reconnaissance, security and escort vehicle as well as a troop carrier. Each vehicle is equipped with a ring- or pintle-mounted machine gun up to 12.7 mm in calibre and a variety of communications systems. This variant has a payload capacity of 3,402 kg and a gross vehicle weight of 13,068 kg with a top speed of 116 km/h.
Dragoon Patroller armoured security vehicle (ASV-XC Extended Cab)
The Patroller has all the performance features of the standard Dragoon APC, but the design allows for two 406 × 660 mm windshields and angular 304 × 685 mm side windows that have 'no-spall' 7.62 mm NATO AP protection. The Patroller is equipped with windshield wiper and washers. Extra large vision blocks and gun ports are also installed. The ASV-XC has 1.995 m of interior headroom allowing the occupants sufficient area to stand upright in the vehicle if necessary for surveillance activities. This variant can also be equipped for amphibious operations. The Patroller will accommodate a crew of 12 with weapons, gear and supplies.
Dragoon Armoured Command Vehicle (ACV)
The Dragoon command control and communications vehicle is another variant of the APC, which can be configured to the user's preferred interior layout and will accommodate a wide variety of specialised equipment to satisfy the needs of field commanders, tactical communication and electronic warfare systems. A 360° rotating machine gun ring mount with a removable ballistic shield, a worktable, a 3 kW generator, a camouflage net, a communication harness and extra brackets for equipment and radios are all standard equipment. The base model will accommodate a crew of five with gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Dragoon Armoured Mortar Carrier (AMC)
The Dragoon Armoured Mortar variant mounts an 81 mm mortar on a 360° rotating turntable. The 81 mm mortar may be traversed and locked at a number of azimuth positions. Fine adjustment in azimuth and elevation is provided as part of the mortar-mounting system. Full width armoured bifold doors are provided over the weapons/crew compartment. The 81 mm mortar may be fired from within the vehicle. The crew is protected from small arms fire and artillery fragments by the vehicle hull. The 60 rounds of various types of 81 mm mortar ammunition may be stowed in the weapons compartment and are easily accessible to the loader. Additional stowage is provided for the equipment necessary for firing off-vehicle when required. The Dragoon AMC variant will accommodate a crew of five with standard field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Dragoon Light Forces Vehicle 90 mm and two-man turret (LFV-90 mm) (LFV-2)
The Dragoon Light Forces Vehicle comes equipped with the two-man turret, a 90 mm cannon and a coaxial 7.62 or .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB MG. The turret shell is constructed from the same high-hardness steel armour plate as the vehicle hull and provides the same level of ballistic protection. The fire-control power system is electrohydraulic and is operated by a single handgrip controller in azimuth and elevation. Secondary or back-up manual controls are provided for both azimuth and elevation. The fire direction system is the standard M36E1 passive day/night sight for the gunner (thermal imaging and other sight options are available). Seven M27 day periscopes are provided for the commander for 360° visibility. Space is available in the turret bustle for mounting a variety of radio communications systems. Stowage is provided in the turret for 500 ready rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and 10 ready rounds of 90 mm ammunition. Additional stowage is provided for up to 50 rounds of 90 mm and 2,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition in the vehicle.
The turret weighs less than 1,905 kg at full load and has solid-state electronics and auto-deck interrupt features. NBC features and commander's control and override are optional. The LFV-90 mm will accommodate a crew of four with standard field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Dragoon Light Forces Vehicle 40/.50 one-man turret (LFV-40 mm) (LFV-1)
The Dragoon LFV-40 mm (one-man turret) has mounts for a MK 19 Mod 3 40 mm grenade machine gun and a coaxially mounted .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB MG. The MK 19 Mod 3, firing the M430 High Explosive Dual-Purpose (HEDP) round, can penetrate up to 50 mm of conventional steel armour plate at ranges over 2,000 m. Like the two-man weapon system, this turret is equipped with the standard M36E1 sight. Stowage is provided in the turret for 100 rounds of 40 mm and 200 rounds of .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB ammunition, plus eight ready smoke grenades. Additional ammunition stowage is provided in the vehicle. The LFV-40 mm vehicle will accommodate a crew of eight with standard field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Dragoon Armored Maintenance Vehicle (AMV)
The Dragoon Armored Maintenance Vehicle and Engineer variant is equipped to provide field recovery, maintenance and logistics support for all Dragoons and many other tactical vehicles. The 2,268 kg hydraulic boom crane is capable of performing a wide variety of maintenance and engineering tasks including installation and removal of vehicle power packs and turrets, tyre changing, cargo loading and unloading and general construction.
Bifold top doors are provided for cargo loading and equipment access. Auxiliary power is provided for operating both air hydraulic accessories and tools. The vehicle comes standard with hydraulic levelling jacks, a fuel transfer pump, a portable pump, a towbar, a toolset, an air compressor, a power cable, a snatch block and a spare tyre mount. The interior is equipped with built-in tool and accessory storage and a work bench with a vice. The Dragoon AMV will accommodate a crew of five with standard field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Mobile Electronic Warfare System (MEWS)
The MEWS carries out advanced battlefield direction-finding, high-speed communications jamming and is fitted with an antenna that can be quickly raised well above the vehicle. The video optical surveillance vehicle has a modified two-man turret, which has been fitted with a long-range day/night surveillance system that can be retracted quickly under armour protection. This provides the field commander with a highly mobile, armour-protected observation capability, which, when connected to an onboard data link, gives clear front-line view of the battlefield for rear commanders. The Teampack electronic detection system is normally carried in the horizontal position on the left side of the vehicle. When required for action it can be erected quickly into a vertical position. A 7.62 mm machine gun is ring-mounted on top of the hatch.
Armored Logistics Support Vehicle (ALSV)
The Dragoon ALSV is configured to facilitate the transport of standard pallets and containers. It is equipped with a hydraulic boom crane capable of self-loading and unloading cargo up to one tonne. The ALSV may be fitted with a variety of self-defence weapons and will accommodate a crew of three with standard field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
Dragoon TOW carrier
The Dragoon TOW system mounts the Raytheon TOW pedestal on a 360° rotating turntable. It is protected from small arms fire and artillery fragments by the vehicle's armoured wall and top bifold doors. Provision is made for stowage of six TOW missiles (with a maximum range of 3,750 m) in the vehicle. The vehicle will accommodate a crew of three with field gear, weapons, ammunition and rations.
In 1997, a further improvement of the Dragoon family of light armoured vehicles was introduced under the name Dragoon 2.
Improvements include larger self-cleaning tyres, upgraded suspension, improved exterior lighting, brush guards and mirrors, adapters for mission kit installation, water sprayer system, central tyre-inflation system, uprated heating and air conditioning system, relocated steering gear, new instrument panels, improved electrical system, relocated alternator, new four-battery starting and charging system, new hydraulic pump, improvements to the rear-mounted power pack, increased frontal armour and improved armour under hull.
Dragoon 2, also has a reduced infra-red signature and improved toxic gas protection. If required, the crew member seated to the right of the driver can take over control of the Dragoon 2 for a short period of time.
It can also be provided with an emergency fuel pump and slam locking doors. A wide range of up-armour kits is also available, ranging from the baseline 7.62 mm armour piercing up to 30 mm APDS at 1,000 m.
The three mission kit installations are a bodyguard push bumper for obstacle removal, obstacle ram and a multipurpose blade. These mission kits can be installed or removed in less than 10 minutes.
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