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The Dragoon 2 Is Like The M113 APC On Wheels!

May 30, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Since it entered service with the US Army in 1960 the M113 and its variants have earned their fair share of praise and scorn. Praise for its adaptability to any environment; scorn for its aluminum armor that fares poorly against high explosive projectiles and anything bigger than a hand grenade. But the M113A2/A3 hasn’t been fully retired yet, with the last batch rolling out of factories in November 2012–this requires a bit of explaining.

The Australian Army contracted BAE Systems to upgrade its 400 odd M113A2’s to a new standard. It took 10 years and more than a thousand workers but in November 2012 the job was complete. But wait, the last known assembly of M113’s was in 2015, when Elbit Systems modernized a batch of M113A2’s for the Philippine Army.

The bottom line is, 59 years later and the M113–the ubiquitous box on tracks–remains a workhorse for militaries. But it’s old too and maybe better alternatives can be found aside from the current obsession with enormous wheeled APCs. Now how about a tough little armored car patterned after the M113?

The Dragoon 2 ASV traces its origins to a little known project for an armored security vehicle that fit inside a C-130 Hercules transport. The result was, after intense collaboration between Arrowpointe and the Verne Corporation, a versatile 4×4 called the Dragoon. The Spanish manufacturer Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE) is now responsible for production of the vehicle, which is called the Dragoon 2 ASV. A lot of its capabilities are as good, if not better, than the M113A1/A2:

Via SDLE.

First, the Dragoon 2 ASV has STANAG III+ armor protection making it impervious to small arms fire from assault rifles such as the AK-47/AKM and the G3. The M113 is resistant to the same yet it needs a substantial armor upgrade if it must survive against heavy ammunition and shaped projectiles. Not to be outdone, the Dragoon 2 ASV can be prepared for surviving handheld explosives and roadside bombs with substantial armoring. So when it comes to keeping its crew and occupants unharmed, the Dragoon won’t let them down.

Second, the Dragoon 2 ASV carries more weapons than an M113–something it was meant to do since the start. Each M113 is equipped with an M2 Browning heavy machine gun. Likewise the Dragoon 2 ASV, except there are other choices. Is it possible to ensconce the gunner in a protective cupola? Of course. How about a 20mm cannon on a remote weapon station? No problem. A BGM TOW anti-tank missile launcher? Can do.

Unlike the M113, the Dragoon 2 ASV is able to mount a 90mm gun on a modular turret complete with secondary weapons. Just as the M113 has variants tailored for command and control and MEDEVAC, the Dragoon 2 ASV is able to fulfill these missions too. Honestly, it’s a better surveillance and reconnaissance vehicle than an M113.

Third, for an armored car weighing 15 tons, the Dragoon 2 ASV is superior to the M113 in many aspects. It has a bigger 350 horsepower diesel engine giving it a top speed twice that of an M113 with greater mileage. Like the M113, the Dragoon 2 ASV swims without any needed preparation and its movement on water will impress marines anywhere. When traveling across remote borderlands in any climate, the Dragoon 2 ASV transitions from paved roads to rough ground with ease.

Beyond these salient features, the Dragoon 2 ASV continues to evolve. As militaries anticipate the full brunt of asymmetric threats and information warfare, the Dragoon 2 ASV has the ruggedness and track record that makes it adaptable for any mission, from internal security to deterrence. SDLE’s premier modular 4×4 is a superb asset for militaries that need versatile protected transport that excel at combat and security in equal measure. The better aspects of the Dragoon 2 ASV are impressive, with its armor level, modular firepower, and speed giving it a a fighting chance in today’s gray zone warfare.

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