The M47 Dragon (developmental designation FGM-77) was an American shoulder-launched man-portable anti-tank missile system. It entered production in 1974 and was retired from US service in 2001, having been replaced in service by the FGM-148 Javelin.
It was developed to fulfil the Medium Antitank Weapon (MAW) requirement set down in 1959 using technology developed for the heavier HAW (BGM-71 TOW), with the contract awarded to the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation's bid in 1966. It was created primarily with the intention of defeating Soviet heavy tanks, although it is also capable of destroying heavily fortified bunkers.
The M47 was a semi-active command line of sight weapon, with an integral thermal tracker detecting a beacon on the rear of the missile and generating flight commands to steer it towards the sight's point of aim, passing these commands to the missile using command wires. Its most unusual feature was that the missile had no wings or control surfaces, only having three static rear fins: instead, the missile casing had six banks of ten tiny thruster rockets, arranged in pairs. These fired sequentially to both steer the missile and keep it in the air.
The system was notoriously difficult to operate effectively due to its complexity (each missile having sixty independent rocket engines) and tendency to over-respond to small motions: it also had problems with command wire breakages. The requirement to use the launcher in a seated position, massive backblast, slow missile speed and requirement to track the missile all the way to the target (taking up to 11.5 seconds) left crews extremely vulnerable, and the thrusters firing every 0.5-1 second made the launcher extremely easy to identify. The latter led to it being nicknamed the "popcorn missile."
- Main article: Peace Walker Incident
During the Peace Walker Incident in late 1974, the Peace Sentinel held blueprints for this state of the art weapons system. The Militaires Sans Frontières, Big Boss' mercenary group, managed to procure blueprints for the M47 after capturing a customized AH56A Raider unit that was deployed at Catarata de la Muerte, which they later used to develop their own version.
On January 1975, shortly after the events of the Peace Walker Incident, the United States military managed to field the weapons to U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe. The weapons system was also supplied to the Marines in 1985 after undergoing a product improvement program. These weapons saw action within various wars, including the Gulf War in the 1990s.
- Main article: Outer Heaven Uprising
By 1995, Big Boss' mercenary forces continued to utilize the M47 Dragon, in the nation of Outer Heaven. FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake procured the weapon system during his infiltration of Outer Heaven's fortress, which he used to destroy several switchboards connected to electrified walkways.
The United States military ended up officially retiring the weapon in 1995, although it also kept several weapons in ammunition storage. It was replaced with the FGM-148 Javelin missile system.
- Main article: Zanzibar Land Disturbance
By 1999, the armed forces of Zanzibar Land maintained the M47 Dragon system within their arsenal. Solid Snake again made use of this weapon during his infiltration of the country.
Behind the scenes
In Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the RC Missile has to be controlled by using the arrow keys (or in the case of the console versions, the D-pad/analog stick), making it similar to the Nikita missile. When launching the missile, Snake cannot move. The missile is identified as the M47 Dragon in the user's manual for Metal Gear 2.
|Game||Item description for RC Missile||Icon|
|Metal Gear||Use the directional buttons to control the path of the missile. Player cannot move while controlling the missile.|
|Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake||After firing, use the directional buttons to manually control the direction of the missile, and guide it to the target.|
If the player fires an M47 (upon gaining it) at a LAV-G in the Main Ops missions, and hit the LAV-G, the soldiers will start shouting "We surrender!" Similarly, if the player fires an M47 at the Hind D nearing the end of the Main Ops mission "Head to the Control Tower," the Hind D goes down in one hit, and Kazuhira Miller will then call and say "Nice shot, Boss."
- "A state-of-the-art, man-portable anti-tank missile that just recently entered service in the U.S. military. The launcher is disposable and good only for one shot.
The M47 employs an optical, wired guidance system with excellent seeking capabilities. Its warhead is also among the most powerful in its class, capable of blowing almost any target to smithereens.
If you think the enemy is going to be tough to take down, don't think twice about taking the M47 with you."
- ―Model Viewer description of the M47 in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Notes and references
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at M47 Dragon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Metal Gear Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|
- ^ While the original Metal Gear does not specify in either the manual or in the game itself that the remote controlled missile was the M47 Dragon, it is revealed to be as such in the Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake manual.