|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Operators|
|Wars||1982 Lebanon War|
Invasion of Grenada
Western Sahara War
Yemeni Civil War (2015-present)
Conflict in Najran, Jizan and Asir
|Designed||March 3, 1966|
|Manufacturer||McDonnell Douglas, Raytheon|
|Unit cost||$13,000 (standard)|
$51,000 (with night tracking system)
|No. built||7,000 launchers, 33,000 missiles (U.S. Army)|
17,000 missiles (U.S. Marine Corps)
250,000 missiles (Total)
|Variants||Dragon II, Dragon III, Super Dragon, Saeghe 1 and 2|
|Length||1,154 mm (45.4 in)|
|Effective firing range||65-1,000 meters|
|Maximum firing range||1,000 meters (1,500 meters Dragon III/ 2,000+ meters Super Dragon)|
|Warhead weight||3.5lb Octol |
|Maximum speed||200 m/s (660 ft/s)|
|SACLOS system sights|
The M47 Dragon, known as the FGM-77 during development, is an American shoulder-fired, man-portable anti-tank guided missile system. It was phased out of U.S. military service in 2001, in favor of the newer FGM-148 Javelin system.
The M47 Dragon uses a wire-guidance system in concert with a high explosive anti-tank warhead and was capable of defeating armored vehicles, fortified bunkers, main battle tanks, and other hardened targets. While it was primarily created to defeat the Soviet Union's T-55, T-62, and T-72 tanks, it saw use well into the 1990s, seeing action in the Persian Gulf War. The U.S. military officially retired the weapon in 2001. The United States destroyed the last of its stocks of the missile in 2009.  The weapon system remains in active service with other militaries around the world.
Used by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as many foreign militaries, the M47 Dragon was first fielded in January 1975 to U.S. Army soldiers stationed in mainland Europe. The effective range of the Dragon was about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), with the missile traveling 100 metres (330 ft) per second, guided by an infrared sight. The operator had to continue to track the missile to its target, which exposed him to enemy fire.
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The first oddity for using the Dragon was the delay between snapping the trigger and the ignition of the launch motor. This was due to a chemical battery charging the initiator circuit (the operator could hear a rising whine similar to the whine made by early integrated flash cameras when charging the flash circuit). This usually led to the operator tensing up in anticipation of the sudden explosion from the launcher that he knew was coming. The missile was discharged from the launcher tube by a "launch motor", which was a rocket motor that completely expended itself within the tube so as not to injure the operator with exhaust gas. The missile coasted away from the operator and a burning infrared flare was ignited at the rear of the missile.
After the missile was about 30 to 50 metres (100 to 160 ft) from the gunner, the missile was propelled forward and guided towards the target by three rows of thrusters aligned longitudinally along the missile body. The rocket spiralled as it moved forward, and the thrusters were fired in pairs to move the missile forward as well as keep the missile on target. These were activated by the sight controller which sent signals from the sight mechanism to the missile along the wire which spooled out behind the missile and remained connected to the sight. The operator kept the sight crosshairs on the target; the sight tracked the infrared flare and sent corrections to the missile service motor to bring the flight of the missile to the aim point. The service charges were fired as needed both to keep the missile correcting toward the aim point and to keep it up and moving forward. A missile moving towards a stationary target and tracked by a steady gunner would fire the thrusters about every .5 to 1 second, resulting in its signature 'popping' sound as it moved downrange. If the operator over-corrected his aim point beyond the service motor's capability to keep up, the missile grounded itself. Conversely, if the guidance wire broke, the missile would fire its rockets rapidly, sending the missile into a rapid ascent. This was a recoilless weapon—the launcher did not "kick" per se when fired—but the sudden loss of the 30 pounds (14 kg) missile weight from the shoulder caused many soldiers to flinch badly enough to lose track of the target, resulting in a missile grounding.
A simple warhead upgrade, the Dragon II, originally "Dragon PIP", received a new warhead that offered a 85% increase in penetration, to about 610mm. Dragon II entered service in 1988
A further improved Dragon II, the Dragon III received a even more powerful dual shaped charge warhead, reportedly a Dragon II head with additional precursor charge. Exact penetration remains unknown, though it was claimed to be "several hundred millimeters" better than the SMAW's 600-mm pen HEAA rocket.
Additionally, the motor was improved, allowing the missile to reach a range of 1,000 meters in 6.5 seconds, much faster than the original missile's 11 second flight time. The improved motor increased the range as well, propelling Dragon III to 1,500 meters. But Actually, Cancelled in 1989. Unofficially sometimes referred to as FGM-77C.
The second final improvement was a new combined day/night tracker with laser guidance Only the United States Marine Corps bought this variant, beginning in 1991, while the Army opted to wait for Javelin to enter service.
1990. Also known as Dragon II+. The Final Dragon Version From the US variant appears to have been produced in Switzerland for export customers and Used based on United States Marine Corp PIP. Minimal production, 2,755 missiles produced at the time of cessation of production in 1997: no known buyers. Range increased to 2 km (1.2 miles), flight speed increased, and warhead changed to a tandem charge with a precursor charge mounted on a standoff rod: performance was said to be 630mm (24.8 in) RHA behind a layer of ERA. The launcher tube weighed 14.8 kg (32.6 lbs).
Iran has reverse-engineered a version of the Dragon, the Saeghe. They displayed it in 2002 at the Defendory exhibition in Athens, when it was in mass production. Hezbollah has acquired Saeghes for anti-tank and anti-armor uses.
Known versions include Saeghe 1 is a copy of Dragon II and Saeghe 2 a copy of Super Dragon. Saeghe 4 is a unique variant with a thermobaric warhead: it is unclear if there is a Saeghe 3. Mostly produced for export, only issued to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Iranian National Guard).
Saeghe (also transliterated as Saegheh, Saeqeh and several other variations) is a very common name for Iranian weapon systems, among other things also referring to a recon drone, a target drone, a fighter jet, an air-to-air missile and an RPG-7 warhead.
The launcher system of the M47 Dragon consists of a smoothbore fiberglass tube, breech/gas generator, tracker, bipod, battery, sling, and forward and aft shock absorbers. In order to fire the weapon, non-integrated day or night sights must be attached. While the launcher itself is expendable, the sights can be removed and reused.
- Iraq: Acquired M47 Dragons captured from Iran. Not operational and not in use.
- Netherlands: Was replaced by the Spike in August 2001.
- Spain: Phased out of service, being replaced by the Spike.
- United States: Since replaced by the FGM-148 Javelin.
- Jordan: replaced by the FGM-148 Javelin
- FGM-148 Javelin the successor to the FGM-77 Dragon
- BGM-71 TOW
- Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW)
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