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




The guided missile system, surface attack: M47 (Dragon), is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, medium antitank weapon referred to in this manual as Dragon. It is capable of defeating armored vehicles, fortified bunkers, concrete gun emplacements, and other hardened targets on the battlefield. It can be operated by the individual soldier or by a two-man team. When employed with the mechanized infantry, it can be mounted and fired from the APC or M3 or M122 machine gun tripod, using the M175 mount. The Dragon can be fired using either the day tracker or night tracker, provided the gunner can see the target through the tracker. The Dragon night tracker (AN/TAS-5) increases the gunner's ability to engage targets during limited visibility. Targets can be engaged during daylight and also during limited visibility such as smoke, fog, or darkness.


The Dragon consists of the following components: a day tracker, a night tracker, and a round of ammunition. The round is the expendable part of the system. The round has two major assemblies: the launcher and the missile. The launcher serves as the handling and carrying container and for firing the missile. The tracker is the reusable part of the system, which is designed for fast, easy detachment from the round. The tracker (day or night) determines any deviation of the missile from the LOS and generates correcting signals, which are sent to the missile control system by a wire link.

a. Capabilities. The Dragon is basically a defensive weapon that can be employed in all weather conditions and in any type of terrain. It is organic to infantry, armor, engineer, and field artillery units. The Dragon provides the mounted or dismounted soldier with a defense against hostile armor, during both day and night operations. The Dragon can be used during the assault against field fortifications, heavy weapon emplacements, and other hard-point targets. With its light weight, rapid deployment, and ease of operation, it is particularly suited for airborne and air mobile operations.

b. Tracking and Controlling Capabilities. The command LOS guidance system of the Dragon provides a high probability of hit. However, to achieve this, the gunner must be well trained on the steady-hold factors in Chapter 7. The gunner acquires the target in the tracker (day or night), and sets and holds the sight cross hairs center mass on the exposed portion of the target. This provides a continuous LOS for the tracker; other gunner control is required. The guidance and control is automatic until the missile impacts on the target. After the missile impacts, the gunner detaches the tracker, disposes of the expended launcher, and prepares to fire another round.

c. Mobility. The system can be hand carried by one man. Therefore, the gunner/team chief can quickly displace to reduce the chance of detection or to engage targets that are not within the range of the primary fighting position.

d. Rounds. Three rounds are available for use with the Dragon: the M222 and MK1, MOD 0, tactical rounds (heat warheads), and M223 practice round (inert warhead). All rounds use the same basic airframe, aerodynamic control system, command-link wire, and missile electronics design.

e. Equipment Data. The following data describes the general and specific characteristics of the Dragon:

(1) General.

Minimum range - 65 meters. Maximum range - 1,000 meters. Ammunition - High-explosive antitank warhead or inert warhead.

(2) Specific.

Round: M222/M223 Weight - 14.6 kilograms (25.29 pounds). Missile Length - 744 millimeters (29.39 inches). Launcher Length - 1154 millimeters (44.1 inches).

Round: MK 1, MOD 0 Weight - 16.2 kilograms (27.2 pounds) Missile Length - 846 millimeters (33.32 inches) Launcher Length -1154 millimeters (44.1 inches).

Day Tracker: Weight -3.1 kilograms (6.75 pounds) Length -196 millimeters (7.72 inches).

Night Tracker: Weight -9.82 kilograms (21.65 pounds) Length 368 millimeters (14.5 inches).

f. Night Tracker Coolant Cartridge and Battery Carrying Container. A mechanized infantry squad is issued five coolant cartridge packs and one battery carrying container full of components. A nonmechanized squad is issued five coolant cartridge packs and three battery carrying containers full of components.


The Dragon weapon system consists of a day tracker, night tracker, and a round of ammunition.

a. Day Tracker Infrared Tracker G.M. SU-36/P. The day tracker is an electro-optical sight that determines the position of the missile relative to the gunner's LOS.

(1) The day tracker generates signals that are sent by wire to the control system of the missile. The missile control system fires the appropriate rocket thrusters to keep the missile heading along the gunner's LOS. (Figure 1-1).

(2) The day tracker is quickly attached to and removed from the round (Figure 1-2). The tracker has an aluminum housing assembly that contains an optical sight, infrared receiver assembly, and control signal comparator. On the right side of the housing is a firing mechanism. It consists of a trigger safety plunger and trigger level bar. The firing mechanism and safety plunger are protected by a moisture-seal rubber boot.

(3) A connector cover provides both mechanical and moisture protection for the electrical connector. It is attached to the tracker by a lanyard.

(4) Shock absorbers surround the forward and rear ends of the tracker to protect the tracker and optical lenses. The lens cover is also attached to the tracker by a lanyard.

(5) The optical sight of the day tracker is a 6-power telescope. It provides the gunner with a magnified image across a 6-degree field of view to help him to locate, identify, and track targets. A fitted and molded rubber eye guard provides the gunner with eye protection and allows rapid eye adjustment to the sight (Figure 1-3). The infrared receiver consists of an objective lens assembly, graded filter, infrared detector, and nutator mirror. The sensor detects the infrared output of the missile flare and discriminates against background signals. It detects any deviations or excursions of the missile from the gunner's LOS.

(6) The daytracker's telescopic sight and infrared receiver are aligned to define the LOS to the target. The sight reticle pattern is a tapered cross hair that causes the eye to concentrate on the center of the FOV. This aids the gunner to quickly adjust the center of the cross hairs and place them center mass of the target. A pair of stadia lines (Figure 1-4) are used to aid the gunner to determine the range of a target. The stadia lines are set up for the standard Threat vehicle (6 meters by 3 meters) at the maximum engagement range of 1,000 meters.

b. Night Tracker (Night Vision Sight, Tracker, Infrared, AN/TAS-5). The night tracker is used when light levels fall below that which is required for the day tracker (Figure 1-5).

(1) The AN/TAS-5 has a 4-power magnification and the FOV is 3.4 by 6.8 degrees. The night tracker is a passive device that receives heat emissions (infrared energy) from a target area (Figure 1-6), and converts the infrared energy to electrical signals and then to visible light. It displays the visible light as a real-time scene for viewing by the gunner. Objects that are warmer than the ambient temperature appear in the night tracker as varying shades of red; objects cooler than ambient temperature appear in the nightsight as black. The night tracker is a larger and heavier tracker than the day tracker, but performs the same functions. The tracker helps the gunner to locate, identify, and track a target. The infrared tracker monitors the missile's flight and provides the commands needed to keep the missile on the gunner's LOS.

(2) The firing mechanism of the night tracker and the control and guidance are the same as with the day tracker.

(3) The night tracker is used during reduced visibility in day or night operations. It is capable of self-sustained operation, using an externally mounted 4.8-VDC battery and coolant cartridge, and can be operated using vehicle power and associated equipment installed in an APC. The gunner's operation of the night tracker differs from that of the day tracker. The night tracker has several controls not required on the day tracker.

(a) The ACTUATOR switch (Figure 1-7) turns the system on and off. It is a four-position switch that permits the gunner to evaluate the operating condition of the night tracker, and is normally in the OFF-LOCK position. The switch is then r o t a t e d to the AIR-BATT-CHECK position used to check the condition of the coolant cartridge and battery. If the coolant cartridge and battery condition are good, the switch is rotated to the ON position for normal operation.

CAUTION: The fourth position, release,is used when the gunner must replace the coolant cartridge.

(b) The reticle adjustment ring focuses the reticle. The range focus lever adjusts the focus for different ranges. (Figure 1-8).

(c) The brightness and contrast controls (Figure 1-8) brighten or darken the picture, and the contrast control changes the contrast of the picture. Both the brightness and contrast adjustments work the same as similar controls on a television set.

c. Ammunition. The Dragon ammunition is an expendable component (Figure 1-9), consisting of the missile and launcher. The missile is installed in the launcher at the factory and shipped in a ready-to-fire configuration. The launcher serves as a storage and carrying case for the missile before launch.

(1) The launcher consists of a smoothbore, fiberglass tube, breech/gas pressure generator assembly, wiring harness, tracker support assembly, biped, tracker battery, sling, and forward and rear shock absorbers.

(2) The tracker battery provides power to the tracker and fires the missile. The tracker bracket provides the electrical connections necessary for missile, trigger, and tracker operation. The biped is attached to the forward end of the launcher and supports the launcher. The night tracker can then use APC power during mounted operations.


Units equipped with the M113 APC are authorized the following Dragon support equipment: guided missile launcher mount, M175, M3/M122 machine gun tripods, and vehicle storage kit.

a. M175 Mounting Assembly. The guided missile launcher mount (Figure 1-10) provides a stable platform for firing the Dragon missile from the M113 APC and the M3 or M122 machine gun tripods. The M175 mounting assembly is installed on the APC by the unit track mechanic. If the APC is turned in for overhaul or repair, ensure the unit track mechanic removes all support equipment.

(1) It provides improved, stable firing and tracking conditions for the gunner, thereby increasing weapon system effectiveness.

(2) The mount is used to fire the M222/MK1, MOD 0, tactical rounds or M223 practice round. It accommodates the M54 LET and M57 FHT.

(3) The round and tracker are electrically mated through two connectors on the mount. They are fired by a remote firing mechanism on the right rear of the cradle.

(4) Azimuth and elevation dampers reduce gunner and vehicle vibrations. They assist the gunner in obtaining a firm, steady tracking action.

b. M3/M122 Machine Gun Tripods. Either the M3 or M122 machine gun tripods (Figure 1-11) can be used to fire the Dragon from a ground support position.

c. Vehicle Storage Kit. The kit (Figure 1-12) is installed in all M113 APCs assigned to mechanized infantry squads. It consists of the following night tracker support equipment:

(1) A night tracker storage rack, located just below the day tracker storage case, to secure the night tracker when not in use.

(2) A vehicle power conditioner to step down the power of the 24-volt battery.

(3) A battery charger rack and a PP-7382/TAS battery charger are also operated from the APC power source.

(4) Three coolant cartridge container storage racks and one battery container storage rack are under the personnel seats.


A training strategy is the overall concept for integrating resources into a program to train individual and collective skills needed to perform a unit's wartime mission. The training strategy for Dragon training is implemented in both TRADOC institutions and also within units, It is composed of four primary components:

  • Initial training.
  • Sustainment/advanced training.
  • Collective training.
  • Leader training.

a. Initial gunner training is a prescriptive POI conducted in both institution and unit. It is composed of 15 blocks of instruction and culminates with successful completion of two tracking tables (40 engagements) and the gunner's skill test (10 tasks).

b. Sustainment training ensures retention of skills learned during initial training. This training takes place entirely in the unit: monthly, quarterly and annually. Gunners must have skill retention by practicing precision tracking at least monthly. Gunners fire selected engagements from the monthly sustainment table using LET/LES. They must also complete at least 50 percent of the gunner's skill test hands-on tasks each month, completing the balance of testing the following month. Each Dragon gunner will verify quarterly the C2 designator by successfully completing the two qualification tables and gunner's skill test. Advanced training is conducted by the unit and consists of field tracking exercises conducted quarterly. Field tracking exercises progress toward more difficult tracking engagements in terms of conditions, equipment, or tactical play. Tracking events include exercises, such as night tracking (under artificial illumination or with the AN/TAS-5 night tracker), tracking with MOPP, or other situational gunnery conditions, using LET/LES or Dragon: MILES. These may be integrated with other Dragon or unit exercises. At the commander's discretion, any combination of these may be scheduled quarterly throughout the year.

c. Each unit is authorized to fire live missiles annually. The number of missiles varies by type unit. The annual live fire may be conducted in an instructional setting or integrated into other unit live-fire exercises. Where possible, live missile firings should closely follow a scheduled qualification, and only currently qualified gunners should be allowed to fire.

d. Collective training takes place in the unit with the goal of fully integrating the Dragon weapon into the unit's overall combat power. It is divided into two parts: force-on-force and live fire.

(1) Force-on-force training is conducted with MILES during squad and platoon FTX/STX. Platoons must be evaluated on Dragon employment during semiannual external evaluations.

(2) Live fire is conducted using the laser target interface device (LTID) or actual missiles (live or inert) in conjunction with platoon live-fire exercises. Dragon gunners/teams must participate in squad/platoon collective live-fire exercises semianually.

e. Leader training is conducted in both the institution and unit. Leaders are taught to train, maintain, and employ the Dragon in courses such as NCOES and the basic officer's course. This training must continue in units through NCO and officer development classes and personal initiative. The training of Dragon instructors begins with institutional leader training and is fully developed in the unit. Leaders selected as Dragon instructors must be proficient Dragon gunners and be familiar with all aspects of Chapters 6, 7, 8, and Appendix B of this manual.


The ultimate goal of a unit Dragon sustainment program is well-trained gunners so a unit can survive and win on the battlefield. The trainer must realize that qualification is not an end, but a step toward reaching this combat requirement.

a. To reach this goal, the gunner must be able to position and use his weapon under the following combat conditions:

(1) Enemy vehicles are seldom visible except when assaulting.

(2) Most Dragon combat targets can be detected by smoke, flash, dust, noise, or movement.

(3) Some combat targets can be located by using nearby objects as reference points.

(4) The nature of the target and irregularities of terrain and vegetation may require a firer to use a variety of positions in addition to the sitting or standing supported position to fire effectively on the target. In a defensive situation, the firer usually fires from a standing supported position.

(5) Most combat targets have a low contrast outline and are obscure. Therefore, choosing an aiming point in elevation is difficult.

(6) Time-stressed fire in combat can be divided into three types: a single, fleeing target that must be engaged quickly distributed targets engaged within the time they remain available; and a surprise target that must be engaged at once with accurate fire.

b. The unit's program must provide fundamental training to sustain and improve the skills and proficiency the soldier has attained during his initial training. Once basic skills have been mastered, these must be improved by conducting new or advanced individual and collective training. The program must develop tracking skills by incorporating tracking into tactical exercises. This training must maintain the soldier's confidence in the weapon and his skills. A soldier's survival may depend on his ability to defend himself or other members of the unit. Therefore, individual and collective tracking skills must support the expected battlefield conditions and the unit's combat mission.

c. A unit's Dragon training program must be battlefield oriented. It must be based upon several individual combat tasks as well as organizational, operational, or contingency missions. It must have available resources such as ammunition, time, ranges, and qualified trainers. This manual provides the information a unit commander needs to develop an effective Dragon training program for his unit requirements.

d. General tracking, training knowledge, and accurate firing are acquired skills that perish easily. Skill practice should be conducted for short periods throughout the year. Most units have a readiness requirement that all Dragon gunners and assistant gunners must have monthly sustainment training with quarterly verification/qualification.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias