Dragon Fire Development
PICATINNY, N.J. -- Dragon Fire, a highly automated 120mm rifled mortar system capable of
remote operation by mortar crews, is under development for the Marine Corps by the Program
Executive Office for
Ammunition and Armament Research, Development and Engineering
Center at Picatinny.
According to Tony Franchino, one of the leaders of the program's development team, Dragon
Fire is a candidate for the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fire Support System. It can be towed
by a light armored vehicle or HMMWV or loaded into a CH-53 helicopter or an MV22 Osprey.
It is one of several concepts being considered by the Marine Corps for the EFSS, he said.
"Dragon Fire is the first system to incorporate an automated fire and gun control system an
indirect fire mortar system," he said.
"This is significant because it increases the fire response time, reduces crew size, allows the
crew to operate the system remotely from a covered, secure position, and improves firing
"The weapon receives a fire mission digitally, calculates the ballistic solution and automatically
points and fires."
Ted Greiner, the program's other team lead, said the next version of Dragon Fire, already
under development here, will incorporate a new mortar fire control system that Picatinny is
developing for the Army.
"The Mortar Fire Control System (MFCS) will improve the performance and accuracy of the
system and is 100% backward compatible with the U.S. Army," he explained. "The only
differences will be the addition of mission sets specific to the USMC and a sophisticated gun
Franchino and Greiner said that the next generation Dragon Fire will be smaller and
approximately 3000 lbs. lighter than its predecessor.
It also will incorporate a more advanced fire and gun control system, which will make the
system more responsive and automatically load and fire both rifled and smoothbore
ammunition. The current version can fire smoothbore ammunition, but the smooth bore
ammunition must be hand loaded because the loading device cannot handle smoothbore
Automated loading and firing allows the crew to remotely operate the system from a covered,
secured location while providing responsive, accurate indirect fire support.
The Dragon Fire is designed to fill a void in the Marine Corps inventory for a mid-range fire
support weapon system.