Dragon gunners should be trained consistently and as repetitively as resources allow. All training includes gunnery and night fire.
a. Training Methods. Two main methods are used to train the Dragon gunner: (1) Centralized Gunnery Training. Centralized gunnery training requires the unit to train all Dragon gunners at once. Training type depends on the training resources available (equipment, facilities, personnel, and time) and the tasks to be taught.
(a) Equipment and Facilities. Limited distribution of training equipment suggests centralized control of training at the highest unit level possible. Also, the number of firing ranges suitable for the Dragon may dictate centralized control over these facilities.
(b) Personnel. A shortage of qualified Dragon instructors can hamper gunnery training.
(c) Time. Centralizing Dragon training can save training time since fewer instructors and classes are required. For example, if the training is centralized at brigade level or higher, battalion and company level instructors can focus on other training requirements. With centralized training, qualified Dragon instructors prepare and conduct training. They need less time to prepare than would unqualified instructors.
(d) Tasks. When considering centralized training, the commander also considers the task he wants to train. If the task relates to gunnery training or qualification, the number of training sets and ammunition available might limit the choice to centralized training. Dragon gunners first learn how to prepare a basic range card. Then they practice applying what they have learned using different pieces of terrain or terrain substitution (maps, sand tables, or 35mm slides of the terrain). Gunners build these skills by working in small groups where they can ask questions, talk about the answers, and debate the advantages and disadvantages of the range cards.
(2) Round-Robin Training. Battalions have a limited number of training sets, so soldiers cannot practice all at once. Rather than letting a few soldiers practice on the equipment while others watch, trainers can set up round-robin (multistation) training. Soldiers then rotate through the stations. This keeps everyone actively engaged in training the whole time. For example, soldiers might train on the equipment itself at Station Number 1, learn to prepare range cards at Station Number 2, and learn to identify enemy vehicles at Station Number 3 (Figure 4-1).
b. Gunnery. Gunnery qualifies gunners to fire the Dragon tactically and nontactically. To qualify, gunners must meet the following objectives:
(1) Detect vehicles at different ranges under varying field conditions, such as rolling hills and vegetation, with the vehicles moving and stationary.
(2) Determine whether a moving target, if engaged, will reach cover before impact.
(3) Prepare a firing position and range card.
(4) Know how to lessen the signature of the backblast.
(5) Know what suppressive fires the enemy can place on the firing position.
(6) Know how to use cover and concealment, deception, surprise, and movement.
(7) Know unit SOPs covering rules of engagement, including signals to lift or shift fires, priority of targets, and times to engage targets.
(8) Know where to obtain resupply of missiles.
(9) Know how to inspect the round before firing.
c. Night Training. Since threat doctrine stresses night operations, gunners should practice their skills at night. They can do this during FTXs, with the gunners using the FHTs with nightsights, or they can do it on a range, under controlled conditions, with artificial illumination.
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