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The Dragoon 2 Packs A Mean Punch

April 22, 2019


Whether it’s base defense or reconnaissance in force, the Dragoon 2 is a formidable asset for armies that need rapid firepower. Rather than deploy main battle tanks to the rear or have them protect sensitive locations, the same job can be performed by a unique variant of the Dragoon 2. When mounting a turret with a large caliber main armament, the Dragoon 2 is able to neutralize any threat with deliberate precision fire. And then there’s the 90mm gun it can carry.

Originally named the Dragoon 300 by the US manufacturer Verne Corporation–the vehicle’s production line was then taken over by Arrowpointe in the early 1980s–the vehicle was meant for various security roles and was large enough to be armed with a 90mm gun. This still allowed the Dragoon 300 to be transported by a C-130 Hercules and other medium-lift transports like today’s the Airbus A400M.

The Spanish company Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE) is now the sole manufacturer of the Dragoon 2 and it’s still possible for end users to have the 90mm gun on a modular turret mounted on the vehicle.

Archival photo of the original Dragoon via Jane’s Light Tanks and Armored Cars, 1984.

For perspective, a 90mm gun on the Dragoon 2 gives it more firepower than the M4 Sherman from World War 2. Likewise, the Dragoon 2 packs a punch greater than Cold War era M41 and M47 tanks. Other wheeled armored cars such as the Brazilian Cascavel and the French ERC-90, both armed with 90mm guns, are trumped by the Dragoon 2’s conversion into an armed assault vehicle. This doesn’t make the Dragoon 2 a tank, however, and it’s best described as a modular tactical vehicle. When converted into an assault gun, the Dragoon 2 with a 90mm gun has enough internal storage for 42 rounds. The turret features both a coaxial machine gun as a secondary armament and an optional 12.7mm or .50 caliber machine gun over the commander’s hatch.

Although some may argue a 90mm gun is no match against other tanks, specialized ammunition such as fin-stabilized sabot rounds can even the odds. With standard high explosive, the Dragoon 2’s 90mm gun is a superb choice for direct fire against bunkers and other structures at ranges up to three kilometers away. The modular turret for the 90mm gun can support a machine gun on a remote weapon station, enabling the Dragoon 2 to effectively deal with enemy sharpshooters and potential ambushes in difficult surroundings.

To envision the Dragoon 2’s operational deployment, think of an infantry platoon tasked with defending a logistics facility in an active war zone. The platoon is equipped with four Dragoon 2 ASV’s that each have a .50 caliber machine gun on a ring mount with an armored cupola for protecting the gunner. A single Dragoon 2 with a Cockerill 90mm gun is assigned to the platoon for direct fire support. When the facility comes under attack by insurgents on foot, the platoon deploys immediately. Aside from the dismounted soldiers and their small arms, each of the Dragoon 2’s lay down suppressive fire with their machine guns. When the insurgents take shelter in an outlying structure, the Dragoon 2 with a 90mm gun neutralizes them with a steady tempo of incoming rounds matched with bursts from its coaxial machine gun.

In a different scenario where the same facility is attacked by conventional forces with tanks and APCs, an infantry company with Dragoon 2’s along with fixed defenses on-site can hold their ground. If not a 90mm gun, the Dragoon 2 is able to carry anti-armor missiles like the BGM TOW or the Javelin. A hypothetical squadron of Dragoon 2’s, with two 90mm guns and two more carrying 30mm cannons matched with anti-armor missiles, will possess a firepower surplus any commander will appreciate.

For armies burdened with inadequate fighting vehicles such as old Soviet BTR-series troop carriers and pickup trucks, the Dragoon 2 is a better cost-effective alternative than most.

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