In the early 1970s, the U.S. Army's Military Police service sought a new quick-response, air-transportable wheeled armored vehicle and this was fleshed out with a formal request drawn up in 1976. Verne Corporation moved to fulfill the request and produced two pilot forms for 1978 but the Military Police abandoned the venture by this time. The resulting design (the "Dragoon") was eventually adopted in small numbers by the United States Army and Navy and served in experimental, security and patrol roles with official service entry being in 1982. In time, operators went on to include Cameroon, Pakistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Venezuela with some of the Pakistani stock being produced in local factories.
The Verne Corporation later merged with Arrowpointe Corporation to become the AV Technology Corporation. It now falls under the General Dynamics Land Systems parent brand.
As finalized, the Dragoon became a lightly armored, 4x4 wheeled multirole vehicle with a weight of 28,000 lb and an overall length of 19.3 feet, a width of 8.1 feet and a height of 9.2 feet. Internally there was a standard operating crew of three (driver front-left, commander front-right) with seating for an additional six personnel. Its armor construction was of welded steel with various angled faces use for basic ballistics protection. Power was from a Detroit Diesel 6V-53T 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit of 300 horsepower, this installed at the rear-right in the hull. The 4x4 wheeled arrangement was suspended at both axes and road speeds could reach 72 miles per hour with an operational range out to 550 miles. Side doors and a rear door offered the needed entry/exit for crewmembers and passengers alike. A fully-amphibious capability was built into the Dragoon's design, the vehicle propelled in the water by its wheels. A powered winch at the bow was a standard fitting.
Its base design borrowed components from the in-service U.S. M809 military truck as well as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). As such, the Dragoon was marketed as something of a budget- and logistically-friendly offering particularly for those nations already operating one or both of the American vehicles.
Due to this multirole / multipurpose design, the Dragoon could be outfitted with a variety of weapons including turret-based ones. This led to a 90mm-armed form (two-man turret) as well as 20mm / 25mm autocannon models. Secondary armament was usually a single 7.62mm machine gun in a coaxial mounting in the turret. A typical fit for base Dragoons, however, remains a single 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun as seen in the standard M113 APC.
In service, the Dragoon has undertaken various combat and non-combat roles including general reconnaissance, riot control, engineering service and Command and Control (C2). Beyond these, the base vehicle has also been used as a mortar carrier and ATGM carrier.
The Dragoon family has spawned a variety of other named offshoots including the "Patroller" for police and security forces, the Dragoon 300 and the Dragoon LFV - each with subvariants of their own.