F-1. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
After removing the Dragon's front shock absorber and desiccant package, all soldiers must strictly observe additional safety precautions to prevent personnel from tampering with the encased missile.
a. Before they may fire the Dragon, leaders and soldiers must know and follow these guidelines:
(1) Avoid looking at the sun, flares, lasers, or searchlights while looking through the sight. Doing so magnifies their effect and could severely burn your eyes.
(2) The warhead will not arm within 65 meters, so try to avoid firing it within that range.
(3) Due to the risk of an accidental discharge, use extreme care when mating the sight to the round.
(4) Avoid going or placing any equipment or other items forward of the firing position.
(5) Never perform PMCS when the sight is mated to the round.
(6) If you are within 50 meters of a Dragon when it is fired, you must wear your earplugs.
(7) Never fire the Dragon over friendly soldiers or vehicles.
b. The antireflective coating on the AN/TAS-5 infrared lens contains thorium fluoride, which is slightly radioactive. However, this coating material is only hazardous if swallowed or inhaled.
c. The Dragon backblast area extends 50 meters to the rear and 30 meters to the flanks of the launcher (Figure F-1). This area is divided into two zones: a danger zone and a caution zone. Trainers must keep both zones clear during training.
(1) The danger zone extends 30 meters to the rear of the launcher in a 90-degree cone. Within this area, the blast, flame, and flying debris could cause deaths or serious casualties, so personnel must avoid this zone.
(2) The caution zone extends an additional 20 meters to the rear and 30 meters to the flanks of the danger zone. Personnel should try to avoid this area as well. To protect their eyes from flying debris, they must face away from the rear of the Dragon. To protect their ears from the blast and overpressure, they must wear earplugs.
d. Due to the danger of the backblast, everyone must take care during all phases of instruction. Team drills, position exercises, and tracking exercises must be conducted with the DGT and DFTT just as though a tactical missile were being fired.
e. After flight, a practice missile can still contain live rocket thrusters. Though the warhead on this type of missile is inert, the live rocket thrusters present a hazard to personnel. The locations of all practice missiles must be reported to EOD so they can dispose of the missiles.
f. During live-fire exercises, safety personnel must stand on either side of the gunner. However, due to the gases, flame, and debris that escape from the front and rear of the Dragon, safety personnel must stand at least 1 meter away from the Dragon.
Missile guidance wire, which can hang up on trees or bushes, is thin, strong, and hard to see. Avoid leaving any of it around. Control access to any areas where you think some might remain. Remove any wire that you find, then store or dispose of it properly.
Figure F-1. Dragon backblast area.
1. Wear ear protection devices to prevent ear damage.
2. Keep personnel clear during training exercises and nontactical firings. Noise levels and flying debris could cause serious ear or eye damage.
F-2. ROUND HANDLING
Improperly or carelessly handling the Dragon round can damage its components and cause the missile to malfunction when it is launched. If the gunner notices any sign that a missile may have been dropped, or if the launcher is deformed or fractured, the gunner should return it to the responsible ammunition personnel for inspection and disposition.
F-3. FIRING LIMITATIONS
The gunner must not fire the Dragon from within buildings, bunkers, or other enclosures, or within 15 meters (50 feet) of a vertical or nearly vertical backstop. Trainers may be granted waivers from this limitation under the provisions of AR 385-62. In combat, the gunner may have to risk firing the Dragon from an enclosure. If so, he must ensure the enclosure is at least 3 meters by 4.6 meters (10 feet by 15 feet). Also, he must ensure all debris and loose objects are cleared from behind the launch site. When possible, he should ensure all doors and windows are opened. The team should make holes at least 0.6 meter (2 feet) square in the walls and ceilings to allow the backblast and overpressure to escape. Even when the enclosure meets these requirements, the gunner must wear double hearing protection. Also, firing a Dragon from a confined space will almost certainly cause structural damage and create falling debris. It also concentrates the escaping toxic gases and can cause building fires. Any one of these hazards can injure the gunner or team. A Dragon should never be positioned so the gunner has to fire over power lines, through brush or brush fires, or through limbs or other obstructions. Any of these could damage the Dragon's command-link wire and interfere with missile guidance.
F-4. FIGHTING POSITION
When firing from a fighting position, the gunner should ensure there are no obstructions to his front or rear. These could deflect the launcher's backblast onto him. When firing from a downhill or uphill slope, he must be especially careful to ensure that the angle of the launcher relative to the ground is no more than 20 degrees. When firing from either a hasty or prepared fighting position, the gunner must allow at least 15 centimeters (6 inches) above and below the muzzle of the launcher. This gives the missile fins the room they need to unfold and lock into place.
F-5. FIRING OVER WATER
When firing the Dragon over salt water, the gunner must avoid firing at targets beyond 300 meters. Salt water can short-circuit the command link wire. Raising the launcher 0.3 meter (1 foot) increases the distance the Dragon can be fired over water by 100 meters. Fresh water does not affect command-link wire, so the missile normally can be fired over it.
F-6. TRAINING EQUIPMENT
Safety precautions apply in training just as they do during live firing. For example, during training, soldiers must practice and observe the same backblast precautions they have to observe during live fire (Figure F-1). Even the trainers (DFTT and MILES) generate sound and pressure levels that can damage hearing. Consequently, anyone in or near the firing area must wear proper hearing protection.
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