Thursday, September 10, 2009

XM-326 Dragon Fire II

New toy for us artillery types in the works. Called the XM-326 Dragon Fire II (I can't get a picture to download right now, sorry), this is the rather belated arrival of wheeled self propelled artillery. And technically its not really artillery but an improved rifled 120mm heavy mortar.

The brain-child of the USMC, this baby has a range of 8.2 Kms (an increase of 1 Km over current 120mms) and is mounted on a wheeled 6400 mil capable baseplate. You can tow it OR you can mount it in a modified LAV (the eight wheeled armored car the stryker is based on) for a SP gun. This thing is semi-auto, so its rate of fire is pretty good (sorry, no unclassified numbers for this). Its a heavy mortar, but its loaded by prepackaged shells so no "hanging" of mortar rounds (quick item, the USMC considers heavy mortars to be "artillery" versus the lighter mortars (81mm and less) that are "Infantry" weapons).

And the most cool aspect of this baby is that it is able to shoot while on the move (you have to slow down some though). That right there brings down the artillery house if they can make it continually work without issue. Right now this baby is in experimental stages, but prototypes are already existing and the USMC (and the Strykers in the Army) are VERY interested. For the Army, this would be a near perfect SP weapon for the medium/stryker BCTs in existance. And I would be happy that the US Military has finally figured out you can actuall have wheeled SP artillery (which the Czechs proved in 1990, but we didn't buy into).


  1. Very interesting. Any idea what the Dragon Fire I was? Or did that burn down and sink into the swamp and is not discussed?

  2. Oh, and quick technical question. Not all mortars are rifled, right? The term mortar vs. gun has something to do with barrel length - or am I way off?

  3. Dragon Fire I was the same thing only heavier (you could tow or mount but not both). Mortar is a type of weapon that is high angle fire only. You can have a smoothbore or a rifled barrel, but that is not the part that dictates a mortar. Also its low velocity compared to a "gun". More similar to a howitzer but again can only do high angle.