The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

CHAPTER 7


INSTRUCTOR'S GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE TRAINING

This chapter provides the instructor with the information needed to train and sustain Dragon gunners and to train soldiers as team members.

7-1. INSTRUCTOR SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE


In addition to knowing the Dragon system, the instructor should know how the gunner learns, how the gunner reacts to physical stimuli, the effects of physical and mental fatigue on gunner performance, and how to recognize when this fatigue affects gunner performance.

7-2. TRAINING PROGRAM SCHEDULE


The training program for initially awarding the ASI of C2 requires 10 days and 235 tracking runs. The gunner also practices handling the weapon by training with an FHT. The number of gunners for each class is dictated by the number of equipped firing sites; that is, instructors, LETs or LESS, monitoring sets, and trackers, with four gunners to each site being ideal, six gunners for each site maximum, and three gunners for each site minimum. This allows for the effective use of time.

a. Enough time must be allowed for equipment orientation training. Historically, negative results occurred when the training schedules were shortened. The more information provided to each soldier on how the weapon and training equipment operate and the purpose of each, the better the gunner.

b. Initial marksmanship training, institution or unit, teaches essential skills and develops fixed and correct procedures in marksmanship before range practice begins. Thorough instruction and carefully supervised practice in the initial phase saves time and ammunition during range firing and develops techniques and procedures necessary for well-trained Dragon gunners and teams.

7-3. INDIVIDUAL INSTRUCTIONS


Various skills and habits must be learned by each gunner to prepare for live Dragon firing. Although the Dragon training equipment closely simulates firing the Dragon weapon, it must be accompanied by personalized individual instruction. The instructor should key on the following points:

a. Coach and stress the following gunnery techniques:

  • Tight eye contact with the eyecup.
  • Proper position.
  • Steady hold at the launch.
  • Steady tracking at all times, especially through smoke.
  • Slow and steady aim point correction to the target.

WARNING: Because of blast noise, the surgeon general has set a limit of LES firings to five firings for each student for each day. Rotate instructors daily on the firing points.

b. Use and emphasize the sitting position and standing supported positions.

c. Have gunners practice tracking in both directions - left to right and right to left.

d. Limit training with the LET to 20 to 40 shots each day for each student (one or two fining tables) because of gunner fatigue.

e. Record student progress and all LET or LES shots on the gunner scorecard.

f. Have gunners clean the training equipment at the end of the day.

7-4. TRAINING AT 250 METERS


NOTE: Weather conditions and target source lamp age affect the maximum range at which the tracker will receive the infrared transmitter signal.

Training is conducted at one range--250 meters. The difference ranges is simulated by varying the target speed and by the time span of firing exercises. This technique is unsatisfactory for developing steady tracking capability and determining if the target is within range. Extra in target dynamics at different exercises, with targets at all ranges, must be conducted to inform gunners of the actual appearance of targets in the tracker.

7-5. TRAINING SEQUENCE


The Dragon gunner should be trained in the following sequence to control the missile launch and flight:

  • Positions.
  • Sighting, aiming, and firing.
  • Breathing.
  • Tracking exercises.
  • Qualification and verification. (See Tables 7-1 and 7-2 and Appendix C.)

7-6. FIRING POSITIONS DEMONSTRATIONS


The gunner must acquire and maintain a stable body position relative to the weapon and be able to move smoothly when tracking a moving target. The round must be solidly anchored on the muscle of the gunner's shoulder. His arms and hands must be properly placed to squeeze the trigger and to maintain the stability of the round. The position of the eye against the optical sight eyepiece is critical since it lessens launch-induced movements and prevents obscuration. There are four basic firing positions for the Dragon: sitting, standing supported, kneeling, and prone. A modified sitting position is used when firing the Dragon from the M175 mount. The M175 mount can be used with the M3 or M122 machine gun tripod. These firing positions are demonstrated to the soldiers as follows:

a. Sitting Position. Demonstrate the sitting position, then have the soldiers assume the position (Figure 7-1).

(1) The sitting position is the most stable. Sit with the legs extended as far as possible. Place the notch of the boot heels on the bipod and push outward.

(2) Lean forward at the waist as far as possible. Pick up the round and place it on the muscle portion of the shoulder, keeping it tight against the curve of the neck (Figure 7-2).

(3) Grasp the tracker barrel with the left hand, curling the thumb under the tube. Grasp the firing mechanism with the right hand, thumb on the safety, three fingers on the firing lever, and the little finger on the front of the firing mechanism. Place the heel of the hand on the base of the firing position to provide a firm grip and reduce slippage. When firing, hold the trigger in the depressed position; releasing the hand causes involuntary muscle reaction and undesirable round and tracker motion.

(4) Lift the head to align the right eye with the telescopic sight. Press the head forward, then press the eye tightly into the eye guard since this forces the eye to stay open. Close the left eye and keep it closed. Focus the tracker, if necessary.

(5) Pull down and back with the hands while pushing out with the feet. Try to touch the elbows together and to the chest at the same time.

(6) Keep the back as straight as possible while leaning forward for better breath control. This limits discomfort and increases the ability to move the upper body.

(7) Maintain arm, back, and leg muscle tension. Use enough force so that involuntary muscle reaction does not occur because of the loss of the missile weight from the shoulder.

b. Standing Supported Position.

Demonstrate the position, then have the soldiers assume it (Figure 7-3).

(1) Place the bipod legs to the front of yourself while standing in an individual fighting position or behind a support. The bipod is placed at such a distance that the gunner must reach for the round.

(2) Spread the legs a comfortable distance apart, keeping the legs straight. Place the round on the shoulder muscle.

(3) Lean forward against the fighting position's wall to support the body from the waist down, providing a stable firing position.

(4) Grip the tracker as in the sitting position. Pull back and down, while straightening the upper body slightly since this removes any slack in the bipod.

(5) The upper body, arms, hands, head, and eyes are in the same position as in the sitting position.

c. Kneeling Position. Demonstrate the position, then have the soldiers assume it (Figure 7-4).

(1) Kneel on both knees and spread them a comfortable distance apart. Position the bipod so that you have to lean forward to position the eye in the eye guard.

(2) Grasp the tracker as previously described. Maintain the same upper body position as in the other firing positions. Place the round on the shoulder muscle, keeping it tight against the neck (Figure 7-5).

(3) As the buttocks are lowered to the heels, take the slack out of the bipod. Try to sit on the heels to provide a stable platform for firing.

d. Prone Position. Demonstrate the position, then have the students assume it (Figure 7-6).

WARNING: Firing from the prone position is not recommended. Firing the Dragon from this position places the gunner in danger from the backblast.

(1) The round is ready to fire with the bipod collapsed, the tracker mounted, and the front shock absorber removed. (Figure 7-7).

(2) Place the body at a 90-degree angle to the launcher to remain outside the backblast area.

(3) Lay the launcher across the right bicep with the bipod on top of the bicep. Encircle the round with the right arm so the right hand can grasp the firing mechanism.

TRAINING NOTES:

1. Stress the need for keeping the pull down force on the tracker and the eye tight in the eye guard.

2. Body positioning and breath control are the two key elements to effectively engage targets.

3. The prone position is the least favorable position. It is difficult and uncomfortable to track moving targets in this position.

4. Ensure the gunner does not place any portion of his body in the backblast area. The round must be kept at least 6 inches off the ground to allow the missile fin's clearance.

(4) Grip the tracker barrel with the left hand and pull the launcher tightly into the neck. (The launcher is pulled into the neck because there is no supporting bipod.)

(5) Press the head forward, keeping the eye tightly in the eye guard.

(6) Use the forward shock absorber to rest the launcher's front on and provide a 6-inch ground clearance. Ensure that the shock absorber is not protruding in front of the muzzle.

7-7. M113 INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNIQUES


The following instructional techniques apply only to M113-equipped units.

a. Demonstrate the M175 mount position on the APC, then have the soldiers assume the position (Figure 7-8).

CAUTION: When firing the Dragon while mounted on the m175 mount, the gunner must apply heavy rearward and downward pressure on the elevation damper to apply maximum downward force on his shoulder. This action helps prevent the weapon from dipping and flying the missile into the ground.

(1) Adjust the commander's chair in the APC so that when the gunner is in the firing position, both feet are flat on the chair with knees and body straight.

(2) Keep the feet apart at a comfortable angle.

(3) Ensure that the left arm and hand exert maximum rearward pressure on the elevation damper. This action pulls the cradle down against the gunner's shoulder (Figure 7-9).

(4) Position the right hand on the M175 mount firing mechanism the same as with the tracker firing mechanism: right thumb on safety; index, middle, and third fingers on the trigger lever; and the little finger forward of the trigger mechanism.

b. Demonstrate the position for the M3 or M122 tripods, then have the soldiers assume the position (Figure 7-10).

(1) M3 tripod. With the M3 tripod, the gunner sits along the left side of the tripod to ensure that no portion of the his body is forward of the muzzle. Sight, aim, and fire the same as when mounted on an APC.

(2) M122 tripod. With the M122 tripod, put the right leg over the top of the two rear tripod legs. Put the left leg over the top of the front tripod leg. Sight, aim, and fire the same as when mounted on an APC.

NOTE: Body position is the most important factor to successful firing and tracking. Continual feedback to the soldiers during the early phase of practical training helps to form good habits.

7-8. SIGHTING, AIMING, AND FIRING


The instructor tells the gunner to place the eye in the eyecup and pull the weapon tight enough into the eye so that he cannot blink. If held tight, the sight picture will not be lost during the launch; the gunner must not move the eye in the eyecup. If eye movement occurs, the prism side is seen instead of seeing through the prism in the telescope, which causes blurred vision the same as smoke and heat. This is demonstrated to each soldier.

a. Wrap the small finger around the front of the trigger housing to give added pulling force to place the weapon tight against the eye. Although the LET always gives rear recoil, the Dragon weapon sometimes gives forward recoil.

(1) Visually select a target and acquire it through the day tracker or night tracker by adjusting the upper portion of the body. Once the target is within range by using the stadia lines, place the cross hairs of the day tracker or night tracker on the center of visible mass of the target, keeping the cross hairs on one selected point until the missile is fired and impact is observed. Always keep the cross hairs of the tracker on one selected point of the target, whether it be a moving or stationary target. When tracking a moving target, move the upper portion of your body laterally to maintain the proper sight picture.

(2) Do not adjust the aiming point for range or speed; always place the cross hairs of the tracker on the center of the target's visible mass. Concentrate on the aiming point. If distracted, target tracking becomes poor and reduces the chance of hitting the target.

b. When firing from the seated position, never rest elbows on the knees since leg movement is transferred directly to the tracker. The missile reacts to any movement sent by the tracker.

c. Ensure the safety is fully depressed before attempting to squeeze the trigger. Squeeze rather than pull the trigger. Since the weapon has little recoil, many gunners move more when they pull the trigger than when the missile is launched.

7-9. BREATH CONTROL


Aiming the Dragon is similar to aiming a rifle, except that the cross hairs must be kept on the desired impact point for 1 to 12 seconds following missile launch, depending on the target range. It is important to begin breath control two seconds before the trigger is squeezed and to continue holding the breath throughout the target acquisition, firing, and tracking. This must be stressed during gunner training. To prevent breathing from interfering with tracking, the gunner takes a breath, then holds the breathe while the trigger is pressed. He must not breathe while tracking a target since body movements cause the launcher to move. To check the gunner for breath control, the instructor observes the gunner's back.

7-10. TRACKING EXERCISES


The proper reaction to temporary obscuration is an important gunner skill. Occasionally, the target may be obscured by launch gases, dust, and so forth. The gunner's instinctive reaction is to look for a target, causing erratic missile flight or flight termination. Training prepares the gunner to "freeze" on a stationary target or to continue tracking at the established rate on a moving target until the target reappears. Instructors should introduce simulated obscuration during LET exercises. They should show soldiers that improper reaction produces LOS excursions beyond the established aiming error limits. Most training should be conducted at moving targets to promote gunner concentration.

a. If a gunner can consistently hit a moving target, a stationary target can easily be hit. Most MISSES occur on moving targets. Training in tracking a moving target begins when proficiency is attained in positions, sighting and aiming, and breathing.

NOTE: Concentration on moving targets is most beneficial to the gunner.

b. Tracking exercises should begin on a tracking range set up for the Dragon training equipment. In this training phase, the gunner performs a series of tracking exercises to understand the procedures needed during the qualification and verification phases. When tracking the gunner tracks the center of the target board where the infrared transmitter is located. His progress is checked by using the monitoring set while he tracks stationary and moving targets. (For firing and scoring procedures, see Chapters 6 and 7 and Appendix C.)

7-11. RANGE REQUIREMENTS


Training with the Dragon training equipment does not require the use of a live-fire range since gunner training is performed without the use of live missiles. All that is required is a firing line to allow for the LET or LES, one target vehicle, and a target vehicle tracking road that is running parallel to the firing line (Figure 7-11).

a. The firing line should be level and allow for movement of the equipment to and from the firing line. It should be long enough to allow about 6 meters between each LET or LES used during the training exercise. The backblast area should be 50 meters deep to accustom gunners to the 50-meter backblast area of the Dragon (Figure 7-12).

The distance from the firing line to the tracking road should be no more than 250 meters.

b. The target vehicle tracking road should be parallel to the firing line and at least 300 meters long. The longer road length allows a greater variation in tracking runs. It also allows the target vehicle to reach the needed tracking speed, to maintain the speed for the tracking time, and to stop safely. The road must be as smooth as possible. A rough road causes the target board on the target vehicle to vibrate, making it difficult for a gunner to keep the sight cross hairs on the target. The area between the firing line and tracking road must be clear of objects such as trees and brush. They break the infrared signal which is transmitted by the target set to the tracker. A loss of signal may affect a gunner's score. A formal training range, abandoned airstrips, parade fields, DZs, open fields or valleys, range roads, and so forth, are good examples of temporary ranges that can be used.

c. The gunner's tracking rate is determined by the range to the target vehicle and the target vehicle's speed. The monitoring set target range permits time selection to correspond with simulated missile flight time to the selected target range. Most training exercises are conducted at a single target vehicle range (250 meters). (Other ranges are simulated by the monitoring set.) The allowable error limits become smaller as the monitoring set range program sequences out to range segment 10 or maximum range.

d. Figure 7-13 is an example of the physical relationship of a tank at 250, 500, and 1,000 meters. That relationship is applied to the target board superimposed on the horizontal error limits of the monitoring set. A gunner must keep a tight aim point when the target vehicle is at 250 meters, and the monitoring set range program is simulating 500 or 1,000 meter ranges.

e. The speed of the target vehicle is important when simulating target ranges (Figure 7-14). The tracker is designed so that a gunner can track a 35-kmph (22 mph) moving target across a 6-degree field of view.

f. As range increases, the distance across the 6-degree field of view increases, but the angle remains the same. If it takes 10 seconds for a vehicle moving at 35 kmph (22 mph) to move 6 degrees at 1,000 meters, then the same vehicle speed must be reduced proportionately when simulating at 250 meters. The distance across the 6-degree field of view is shorter at 250 meters.

EXAMPLE:

250 meters by 1,000 meters = .25 or 25 percent of 1,000 meters.

THEREFORE:

.25 by 22 mph = 5.5 mph or 6 mph

6 mph at 250 meters is equivalent to 22 mph at 1,000 meters.

7-12. RANGE PROCEDURES


Qualification, verification, or sustainment range firing for gunners and assistant gunners is normally a consolidated battalion or higher function. The officer or NCOIC should use the following procedures when conducting Dragon range firing.

  • In all instructional firing, stress precision, steady tracking rate, point training, and firm firing position posture.
  • Fire exercises in the order listed on the firing tables; ensure they are controlled by appropriate fire commands.
  • Ensure a qualified instructor inspects all Dragon LETs or LESS and trackers before and after each firing day for cleanliness, serviceability, and operation.
  • Ensure soldiers apply all safety precautions during all firing exercises.
  • Instruct gunners and assistant gunners on duty assignments and range operating procedures before training with the equipment. Divide them into teams and assign each soldier a position.

a. Qualification Training. For qualification, the gunner must fire from both the sitting and standing supported positions. Table 7-1 shows the vehicle speeds and monitor settings that must be used for qualification.

b. Verification Training. For verification, a gunner must verify quarterly to meet qualification standards.

c. Sustainment Training. For monthly sustainment training, (Table 7-2). The commander can select any target speed and monitor settings that must be used for gunner proficiency.

d. Officer/NCO in Charge. The officer or NCOIC--

  • Organizes the range.
  • Assigns, coordinates, and supervises the firing lines.
  • Issues fire commands and general instructions to the firing line.
  • Enforces safety precautions as prescribed in AR 385-62, local SOPs, and applicable range regulations.

e. Coach and Monitoring Set Operation. During instructional firing, a coach or monitoring set operator is at each LET or LES to instruct and assist the gunner. The coach or monitoring set operator --

  • Requires teams to observe safety precautions.
  • Supervises the action at the LET or LES and makes sure that commands are executed.
  • Repeats orders and instructions to ensure understanding and timely execution.
  • Reports the occurrence of any misfire, malfunction, or discrepancy to the officer or NCO conducting the firing.
  • Critiques the tracking runs.

f. Training Team.

  • LET or LES gunner.
  • Loader.
  • Monitoring set operator (assistant instructor).
  • Scorekeeper (optional).
  • Safety monitor (optional).

NOTE: Rotate these duty assignments among the students.

  • One target vehicle operator (does not participate in training).

g. Safety Precautions.

(1) General personnel safety. Implementing the following precautions ensures safety for all personnel.

    • Observe the LET or LES backblast area.
    • Wear properly fitted earplugs.
    • Reset the dummy weight before loading or reloading the LET.
    • Before reloading the LES, ensure there is no glowing residue from the end caps in the launcher.

WARNING: Do not look into the infrared source since eye damage may result.

    • Observe the infrared transmitter source safety.

(2) Equipment safety. Avoid rough or careless handling of training equipment.

h. Duty Assignments and Tasks of Training Team Personnel.

(1) LET Or LES gunner tasks. Observes the following safety precautions:

    • Does not point either end of the LET or LES at personnel.
    • Fires only when cleared by the loader.
    • Does not look at the sun or at searchlights when sighting through the tracker.
    • Considers all misfires to be hangfires, and proceeds accordingly.
    • Does not leave a loaded LET or LES unattended.
    • Prepares the LET or LES for operation.
    • Fires the LET or LES.
    • Reviews each tracking run with the monitoring set operator.

(2) Loader tasks. Observes the following safety precautions:

    • Considers all misfires to be hangfires, and proceeds accordingly.
    • Assists in performing misfire procedures.
    • Ensures that the hands are clear of the launcher before giving permission to fire.
    • Loads or reloads the LET or LES.
    • Informs the gunner when to fire.

(3) Monitoring set operator tasks. The monitoring set operator performs the following functions:

    • Prepares the monitoring set for operation.
    • Boresights the monitoring set before training.
    • Monitors the set during each tracking run.
    • Reviews each tracking run with the gunner.

(4) Target vehicle operator tasks. Observes the following safety precautions:

    • Before moving the vehicle, ensures that the infrared transmitter set is properly installed on the vehicle.
    • Complies with all safety precaution warning signs.
    • Before operating the infrared transmitter set, ensures that all cables are connected and secure.
    • Removes the infrared source cover.
    • Prepares the infrared transmitter for operation.
    • Drives the target vehicle.

(5) Scorekeeper tasks. The scorekeeper performs the following tasks:

    • Prepares the scorecard.
    • Informs the instructor of the gunner's progress.

(6) Safety monitor tasks. The safety monitor performs the following tasks:

    • Ensures all participating team members are using earplugs during the firing exercises.
    • Clears personnel from behind the backblast area of the LET or LES during the firing exercises.
    • Reports all safety violations to the instructor for corrective action.

7-13. POSTOPERATIONAL PROCEDURES


The instructor ensures the following actions are performed:

LET:

  • Shuts down the infrared transmitter, replaces the infrared lamp cover, and returns the vehicle to the instruction area.
  • Turns off the monitoring set, disconnects and replaces cables in the cable storage area, and replaces the monitoring set covers.
  • Dismounts trackers, replaces electrical covers, replaces lens covers, and places trackers in their carrying cases.
  • Replaces rear end caps (shock absorbers) of the LET, forward shock absorbers, and covers.
  • Removes batteries from the LET.
  • Ensures all M64 grenade launching cartridges are removed.

LES:

  • Turns off the power.
  • Removes the MAPP gas and oxygen. Shuts down the infrared transmitter, replaces the infrared lamp cover, and returns the vehicle to the instruction area.
  • Turns off the monitoring set, disconnects and replaces cables in the cable storage area, and replaces the monitoring set covers.
  • Dismounts trackers, replaces electrical covers, replaces lens covers, and places trackers in their carrying cases.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list