FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART
The present invention relates to a weapon mount and, in particular, to a system for mounting a weapon to a platform such as a vehicle.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In combat situations, it is important that a gunner be relieved of the added stress of bearing the weight and recoil of the weapon so that the gunner can focus on operating the weapon effectively. Over the years, significant advances have been made in weapon mounts, as can be seen for example in U.S. Pat. No. 6,283,428. This patent discloses a swing arm system having upper and lower swing arms pivotally joined together and having a free end for supporting a weapon. While this swing arm system has performed successfully under battlefield conditions, improvements are still desired.
In one example, the present invention provides a novel and improved swing arm mounting system which includes a first swing arm having a pivot end and an opposed free end and a second swing arm having a pivot end and a support end. Also included is a pivot connection joining the pivot ends of the first and the second swing arms, a first pintle socket carried on the free end of the first swing arm, and a second pintle socket carried on the pivot end of the first swing arm.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another example, the present invention provides a novel and improved swing arm mounting system which includes a first swing arm having a pivot end and an opposed free end and a second swing arm having a pivot end and a support end. Also included is a pivot connection joining the pivot ends of the first and the second swing arms, a first pintle socket carried on the free end of the first swing arm, a first friction clamp carried on the pivot end of the second swing arm, and a second friction clamp carried on the support end of the second swing arm.
In the drawings, which comprise a portion of this disclosure:
FIG. 1 is a schematic top plan view showing a swing arm mounting system supporting a weapon;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view thereof;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the swing arm mounting system;
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the swing arm mounting system;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the upper arm assembly thereof;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the lower arm assembly thereof;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 6; and
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIGS. 9 and 10 show an alternative swing arm mounting system.
The invention disclosed herein is, of course, susceptible of embodiment in many different forms. Shown in the drawings and described below in detail is a preferred embodiment of the invention. It is to be understood, however, that the present disclosure is an exemplification of the principles of the invention and does not limit the invention to the illustrated embodiments.
For ease of description, swing arm mounting systems embodying the present invention are described herein in their usual assembled position as shown in the accompanying drawings, and terms such as upper, lower, horizontal, longitudinal, etc., may be used herein with reference to this usual position. However, the swing arm mounting systems may be manufactured, transported, sold or used in orientations other than that described and shown herein.
Referring now to the drawings, and initially to FIGS. 1-3, a swing arm mounting system is generally indicated by the number 10. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a weapon 12 (for example, an M60 general-purpose machine gun or an M240 light machine gun) is mounted to a free end of the swing arm mounting assembly, and is made ready for operational use. As will be described herein, the swing arm mounting system 10 is readily adaptable for different modes of operation and can be converted from one mode of operation to another using simple procedures which can be easily carried out under battlefield conditions to provide various firing positions.
As can be seen in FIGS. 1-3, a support base 14 provides cantilever and rotational support for the swing arms and the weapon 12 mounted thereon. As can be seen in FIG. 3, a stub connector 16 is secured to support base 14 by welding, screw fasteners or other conventional expedients. The support base 14, in turn, is secured to a platform such as a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), boat or other platform.
As will be seen herein, stub connector 16 provides rotational and cantilever support when received in a lower arm assembly 20 of the swing arm mounting system 10. An upper arm assembly 22 receives a pintle 24 which is joined to a clevis 26. As can be seen in FIG. 2, clevis 26 is secured to weapon 12. The upper and the lower swing arm assemblies 22, 20 are joined together at a center knuckle joint generally indicated at 30. Center knuckle joint 30 provides multiple advantages for the operation of the swing arm mounting system. Adjustment knobs 36, 38 operate internal friction clamps or locks disposed within the lower arm assembly 20. At least one, but preferably two, friction locks are used. As will be seen herein, these friction locks provide stabilization during weapons operation. The friction locks also set travel limits when the swing arm mounting system is converted from a double swing arm configuration shown in FIGS. 1-3 to a single swing arm configuration where the swing arm assemblies 20, 22 are “doubled up” so as to overlie one another. In the “doubled up” configuration, the pintle supporting the weapon 12 is mounted either at the center knuckle joint 30 or at the free end of upper swing arm assembly 22, which is positioned to overlie support base 14.
Referring to FIG. 5, upper arm assembly 22 includes a housing 42 having a first and second enlarged end portions 44, 46 and an intermediate portion 48. Preferably, end portions 44, 46 are nonidentical, with end portion 44 providing connection to the center knuckle joint and end portion 46 comprising a pintle socket 52 removably carried at free end 42.
Referring to FIG. 6, lower arm assembly 20 includes first and second enlarged end portions 56, 58 and an intermediate portion 62. Preferably, end portions 56, 58 are hollow so as to receive components to be described herein. Further, end portions 56, 58 are enclosed at their upper ends to prevent infiltration of contaminants such as sand and dust. Referring to FIG. 6, end portion 56 has a continuous upper surface 66, while end portion 58 has an upper surface 68 which is substantially continuous except for defining a central aperture 72 for receiving components associated with upper arm assembly 22. Upper arm assembly 22 completely encloses aperture 72 and shrouds this portion of the swing arm mounting system to provide multiple levels of protection against infiltration of contaminants.
Referring now to FIGS. 4-8 and initially to FIG. 4, upper arm assembly 22 telescopically receives pintle socket 52 in a cylindrical aperture 78 formed at the enlarged end 46 of housing 42. Pintle socket 52 has a generally cylindrical body portion 82 and an enlarged head 84. Apertures 86 are formed in body portion 82 to receive retaining pin 88. Apertures 92 are formed in enlarged end 46 of housing 42 to receive pin 88 and are aligned with apertures 86 when the pintle socket 52 is fully seated in housing 42. Bolts 96 and lock washers 98 secure pintle socket 52 to housing 42 and further cooperate to restrain pintle socket 52 against rotation.
At the opposite end of housing 42, enlarged end 44 defines a passageway 102 having a generally non-circular cross-sectional shape. In the preferred embodiment, passageway 102 has a generally square cross-sectional shape. A connector member generally indicated at 106 has an enlarged head 108, a shoulder portion 110 having a non-circular shape and a pin portion 112. In a preferred embodiment, shoulder portion 110 has a generally square cross-sectional shape and is sized for telescopic insertion in passageway 102. When connector member 106 is fully seated in the enlarged end portion 44 of housing 42, enlarged head 108 engages the upper end of enlarged housing end portion 44. Apertures 116, 118, formed in shoulder 110, are aligned with one another so as to receive retaining pin 120. A screw 96 and washer 98 secure connector member 106 to the end portion 44 of housing 42.
A travel lock arm 124 is secured to housing 42 by screw 126 which passes through the housing, a washer 128 and a nut fastener 130. Travel lock arm 124 pivots about screw 126 when its free end 134 is raised and lowered. A locking pin 138 is received in free end 134 and is held captive by dowel pin 140. With the free end 134 rotated to its raised position above the upper surface of housing 42, retaining pin 138 is inserted in a block on the underside of the gun mount for weapon 12, and can be used when the swing arm assembly is configured in either the single arm mode or the double arm mode. For example, see FIGS. 9 and 10 wherein the travel lock arm 124 secures the weapon 12 to restrict rotational movement of the weapon 12 relative to the upper swing arm 22.
The lower swing arm assembly 20, as mentioned, includes a housing with enlarged hollow end portions 56, 58. Clamp members 142, 144 are received in the underside of end portions 56, 58, respectively. Clamp members 142, 144 include split collar clamp portions 146, 148, respectively. Wings 150, 152 extend from the split collar portions to apply a compressive clamping force. Apertures 154, 156 receive screw fasteners 158, 160 which pass through the lower swing arm housing. Bushings 164, washers 168, 170 and threaded nut fasteners 172, 174 mount adjustment knobs 36, 38 on screw fasteners 158, 160, respectively. Apertures 176 are formed in clamp member 142 and cooperate with apertures 178 to receive retaining pin 180. A dowel pin 181 holds retaining pin 180 captively attached to the lower swing arm assembly.
Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, as the adjustment knob 38 is advanced along screw fastener 160, compressive force is applied through bushing 166 to the free ends of wings 152, thereby applying a closing force to split collar portion 148, which in turn applies a compressive force to pin portion 112 received in an aperture 182 formed in split collar portion 148. Screws 96 and associated washers secure clamp members 142, 144 within the housing of lower swing arm assembly 20. As can be seen for example in FIG. 8, clamping member 144 has an irregular non-circular cross-section and is received in end portion 58 with a relatively tight fit, which prevents clamp member 144 from rotating within the lower arm housing. The opposite end portion 56 and clamp member 142 are similarly configured. In addition, as can be seen in FIG. 4, the split collar portions 146, 148 of clamp members 142, 144 have a series of spaced-apart longitudinally extending grooves in their outer surfaces, to further enhance engagement with the interior walls of the lower arm housing. The clamping member at end portion 56 engages stub connector 16 to clamp the lower swing arm assembly against rotation, while the clamping member at end portion 58 engages the lower end of connector member 106, effectively clamping one end of upper arm assembly 22 against rotation.
A washer or bearing member 188 is located between upper and lower arm assemblies 22, 20 and is held in place by pin portion 112 of connector member 106. A washer 192 and retainer clip 194 engage the lower free end of connector member 106 to hold upper and lower swing arm assemblies together, completing the central knuckle joint.
In use, an operator, by merely rotating adjustment knobs 36, 38 can loosen the swing arm assembly to allow reconfiguration in a single swing arm mode or a double swing arm mode, change the angle between the upper and lower swing arm assemblies (see FIG. 1, for example) or allow the swing arm assembly to rotate about stub connector 16. By tightening the adjustment knobs 36, 38, the swing arm assembly is quickly and easily locked in position. As will now be appreciated, the upper and lower swing arm assemblies, when locked in place, are substantially free of wobble or shake, despite recoil forces associated with full automatic firing of weapon 12.
As can be seen in FIG. 3, stub connector 16 has a groove formed in its midsection. This groove receives retaining pin 180. By loosening pressure on adjustment knob 36 and removing retaining pin 180, the entire swing arm assembly can be quickly and easily disengaged from support base 14, allowing, for example, weapon 12 to be redeployed at another location. By removing retaining pin 88 located at the free end of upper swing arm assembly 22, the pintle 24 attached to weapon 12 can be removed, allowing weapon 12 to be installed, for example, at the opposite end of the upper swing arm, with the swing arm system being arranged in a single swing arm configuration. Alternatively, if desired, an operator can leave weapon 12 attached at the free end of the upper swing arm assembly and move both upper and lower swing arm assemblies so as to overlie one another to achieve yet another operational configuration of the swing arm system.
Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, an alternative mounting system for a weapon 12 is shown. Included is a mounting beam 200 which supports the weapon via a rotational mounting to an insert 202 received in a pintle recess carried at either end of upper arm 22. Referring to FIG. 10, mounting beam 200 preferably comprises part of a structure which includes a shelf for holding an ammunition box, a bail or handle 206, and a tab 208. Preferably, the structure is attached directly to weapon 12 with bolts or fasteners 204 and forms an integral assembly with the weapon. If desired, tab 208 can comprise a portion of mounting beam 200, and the structure including the shelf and handle can be omitted. The travel lock arm 124 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) is attached to tab 208, preferably with a removable rotational mounting such as a removable locking pin. When secured between the upper swing arm 22 and the weapon 12, the travel lock arm 124 restricts rotational movement of the weapon 12 relative to the upper swing arm 22 (for example, during transport). In FIG. 9, the swing arm assembly is configured in a single arm mode and in FIG. 10, the swing arm assembly is configured in a double arm mode.
It will appreciated that any of the above different operating modes of the swing arm system can be achieved by simply loosening tension on adjustment knobs 36, 38, readjusting the upper and lower swing arm assemblies and reapplying clamping pressure with the adjustment knobs. In addition, an operator can quickly and easily move weapon 12 from one end of the upper swing arm assembly to the other simply by removing and reinstalling the retaining pins 88, 120.
The foregoing description and the accompanying drawings are illustrative of the present invention. Still other variations in arrangements of parts are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.