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Publication numberUS3279319 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 18, 1966
Filing dateJun 19, 1964
Priority dateJun 19, 1964
Publication numberUS 3279319 A, US 3279319A, US-A-3279319, US3279319 A, US3279319A
InventorsPursel Gary T, Semonian Joseph W
Original AssigneePursel Gary T, Semonian Joseph W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floatable rocket launcher
US 3279319 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

18, 1966 J. W.SEMONIAN ETAL 3,

FLOATABLE ROCKET LAUNCHER Filed June 19, 1964 INVENTORS JOSEPH W. SEMONIAN ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,279,319 FLOATABLE ROCKET LAUNCHER Joseph W. Semonian, Camarillo, and Gary T. Purse],

Oxnard, Calif., assignors to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Filed June 19, 1964, Ser. No. 376,599 4 Claims. (Cl. 891.810)

The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.

The present invention relates in general to floatable rocket launchers and more particularly to a floatable closed breech rocket launcher which is effective in launching rockets from launching tubes without recoil of the launch tubes.

Since the change in emphasis from land based launching of rockets and missiles, occasioned by excessive costs and dangers to personnel among other considerations, to launchings from water various devices and methods have been suggested for improving techniques in the launching of the missiles or rockets from bodies of water. Some of the prior attempts at improving water-launching of missiles or rockets have been centered primarily upon attaching floats to the upper end of the rocket, these floats to be rejected or forced aside upon the rocket engine being ignited and the missile moving upward out of the water. Launching rockets from bodies of water through the use of launching tubes having closed lower ends would be particularly undesirable because of the recoil or down- Ward thrust upon firing of the rocket engine which downward thrust would result in a reduction in stroke of the rocket in relation to the water surface which could otherwise be utilized, and a means for introducing inaccuracies in the launch of the vehicle since the downward thrust may be exaggerated or amplified by wave action in the launch area.

The present invention avoids the disadvantages of prior launching tubes and provides an additional velocity of the rocket at exit from the launching tube which in a closed-end launching tube would be reduced by the recoil of the launching tube.

The invention also avoids the energy losses entailed in the use of launching tubes having open lower ends through which exhaust gases come directly in contact with the body of water. These gases are diffused and also churn the water into a mixture of drops of cold water in gas which significantly reduces the heat of the gases and therefore the additional acceleration of the rocket.

The present invention thus basically is a device and method for use with a launching tube wherein substantially the full exhaust force of the hot exhaust gases is utilized to impart additional acceleration to a rocketpropelled vehicle during the launching stage of its flight.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide means to be used in combination with a launching tube for imparting additional acceleration to a rocket propelled vehicle without the introduction of additional forces.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a rocket launching tube for water launching in which no additional buoyancy apparatus or member is required to float the combined launching tube and rocket.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a substantially recoilless device and method for launching rockets wherein the gases supplied by the exhaust products of the rocket are utilized in imparting additional acceleratiton to the rocket.

It is a still further object of this invention to provide in combination with a water-launch tube a device and method which utilize the force of the exhaust products of the rocket engine throughout the travel of the rocket in the launcing tube.

Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a longitudinal cutaway view party in section of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic View of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shortly after the rocket engine has been ignited; and

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the components after the rocket has left the launching tube.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a rocket or missile 11 is shown centrally supported within a launching tube 12 which floats at water level 13. Spacer :means 17 are disposed at the forward and aft ends of the missile and, for increased clarity, only two of the four spacer means are shown. Missile 11 in the pre-launch stage rests on a piston assembly 18, the missile and piston assembly being disposed in the upper portion of launching tube 12 and held in place vertically therein my removable means" such as a set screw 20. Launching tube 12 is closed at its upper end 21 by a frangible diaphragm 22 and gasket 23 and is open at its lower end 24. About the lower end 24 is disposed ballast 29 in the form of a removable ring.

Piston assembly 18 in the present embodiment is in the form of a pair of open-ended pistons assembled together in a watertight fit with the open end of the upper piston 31 extending outward of and enclosing the open end of the lower piston 32. Before ignition of the rocket engine of missile 11, the upper and lower pistons, 31 and 32, are held together by shearable means such as shear pins 34 which are inserted before the piston assembly is placed within launching tube 12 at points which in the pre-launch stage are above an opening 37 in the launching tube wall for accommodating set screw 20. Thus the weight of missile 11 is transmitted to upper piston 31 and. thence to set screw 20 thereby preventing the missile and piston assembly from sliding downward in the launching tube. Since in this embodiment the open lower end 24 permits free entry of water at ambient pressure, the piston assembly 18 is precluded from moving upward under pressure of the water by a stop means such as a. relatively small ring 36 of metal welded to the wall of lower piston 32. Lower piston 32 is also restrained from movement upward within upper piston 31 by stops 38.

The piston assembly 18 is made to fit snugly within launcher tube 12 but not in watertight relationship therewith for reasons to be discussed later. A significant space is provided between the outer bearing surface 40 of the upper piston 31 and the outer bearing surface 41 of lower piston 32 to permit some flow of water between these bearing surfaces and the inner surface of launching tube 12. However, lower piston 32 is contained within upper piston 31 in watertight relationship. The nozzle 43 of missile 11 is sealed in watertight fit by frangible diaphragm 45 and gasket 23. Rocket 11 and upper piston 31 are held in detachable engagement by forwardly extending straps or bars 50, the straps being curved to conform to the outer configuration of the missile and held in place against the missile by the removable spacers 17. At their lower end opposite the nozzle 43 opening the straps 50 are turned outward and held in place under clamps 52 by the weight of the missile. Clamps. 52 must have suflicient strength to hold the piston. assembly 18 and missile 11 together under the forces exerted by exhaust gases emanating from the missile 11. The

clamps 52 and straps 50 must also have a strength in excess of that of shear pins 34. A plurality of openings such as 54 are provided a selected distance below closed upper end 21 to permit the entrance of water therein.

' FIGS. 2 and 3 show different stages in operation of the device and will be described in conjunction with a partial description of operation featuring the recoilless or substantially recoilless action of the lunching tube of the present invention. Preliminarily, FIG. 2 shows the position of upper piston 31 and lower piston 32 at a very short time after the rocket has been fired. Spacers 17 are still in position being held thus by the presence of the lower spacer within the launching tube 12. Forwardly extending straps 50 are still held in an upright position. The force of exhaust gases against upper piston 31 serves to retain that piston in contact with the after end of the missile 11. Lower piston 32 has moved downward a lesser distance than upper piston 31 has moved upward because of the greater resistive force against lower piston 32, namely, the ambient water pressure. In FIG. 3, the

internal launching tube pressure created by the exhaust gases has forced both upper piston 31 and lower piston 32 out of the launching tube 12, and spacers 17 as well as straps 50 have fallen off to the side of missile 11. Upper piston 31, no longer having exerted against it the confined exhaust gases, has dropped away from the missile 11.

The operation of the device will now be supplemented beginning with the assembling of the missile, upper piston and lower piston in the launching tube. This assembly may be effected on board ship or at some convenient site, and after such assembly the combined components are lowered into the Water at the position selected for launching missile 11. Frangible diaphragm 22 must be secured in place before support is withdrawn from the assembled components. This diaphragm and diaphragm 45 may be made of styrefoam or polyurethane. Frangible diaphragm 45 is, of course, installed before the upper and lower pistons are connected together and held together by shear pins 34. Set screw is inserted after the piston assembly 18 has been properly positioned in the launching tube 12. Upon the piston assembly 18 being positioned opposite set screw 20, such that the set screw 20 will enter into the space bounded by the lower end of the downwardly depending walls of the upper piston 31, the ring 36 and the upwardly extending walls of lower piston 32, the set screw is inserted to hold the assembled missile and pistons within the launching tube at the desired position therein. The combined components are then lowered into the water, piston downward, and the launching tube 12 is allowed to partially fill by water entering the bottom opening 24 and flowing past the piston assembly 18 upward to the space between the spacers -17 and upward beyond the openings 54. The air entrapped in the upper portion of the launching tube 12 provides buoyancy for all components of the device, the level of the water in this space being determined by the position and size of openings 54. At this stage, the entire assembly is ready for ignition of the rocket engine. Any firing cords will have been connected so that upon the area being cleared for firing the rocket engine may be ignited as desired.

Upon firing of the rocket engine, exhaust gases are discharged into the hollow piston assembly, the clamps 52 and forwardly extending straps 50 having suflicient strength to retain the missile 11 and upper piston 31 connected during the initial shock of discharge of exhaust gases. The force of the exhaust gases entering the space enclosed by the upper and lower pistons will sever shear pins 34 thereby permitting the upper piston 31 to rise with the rocket 11 and having lower piston 32 driven in the opposite direction. The lower piston must drive the water entrapped below it out of the lower portion of the launching tube. The motion of the lower piston allows the tube to remain motionless. As more gases emanate from the rocket engine, the forces they create cause further separation of the upper and lower pistons with the upper piston driving the missile out of the launching tube with an additional acceleration to that imparted to the missile 11 by the acceleration of the exhaust gases alone. In this manner, the entire enclosure within the launching tube between the pistons is used as an expanding chamber or volume. The exhaust gases are thus confined in this enclosed space and their full force is made effective in assisting the launch of the missile 11. As missile 11 emerges from the launching tube, spacers 17 will fall away from the body due to their weight and air flow along the surface of the missile. As the lower portions of the spacers 17 clear the launching tube, the spacers fall away completely from the missile 11. As upper piston 31 clears the launching tube, forwardly extending straps 50 will fall downward because of their weight and free the piston from the missile thereby permitting the missile to proceed in its programmed attitude.

It will thus be appreciated that the device of the present invention and the method entailed in accelerating a missile from a launching tube provide full use of exhaust gases and avoid objectionable recoil of the launching tube at launch. The present invention is an adaptation of the concept of the recoilless gun for use as a floating missile launcher. By suitable selection of the dimensions of the launching tube aft of the missile, and by the characteristics of the water exit or bottom tube opening 24, it is possible to provide a launch system where the :forces on the launcher are balanced and recoil is substantially eliminated or controlled. The present launcher also avoids the necessity of a breech void large enough to prevent excessive breech pressure after ignition of the rocket engine. Such a void would require ballast to immerse the device to a desired depth, and thus penalties of both weight and size are avoided in the present invention. The present invention in fact avoids any requirement for separate ballast means by flooding only a portion of the launching tube and using the confined unflooded portion for necessary ballast.

It will be appreciated that the present launcher will also operate without the piston assembly installed therein. In a device using the piston assembly as taught herein, the expansion of exhaust gases is or may be assumed to be adiabatic whereas such would not exist in the case where no lower piston is used. The present invention thus provides a simple yet eflicient method for increasing the initial acceleration of a missile launched from a verti cal floating position.

It will be recognized that many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

, We claim:

1. A device for eliminating launch tube recoil in a fioatable rocket launcher using a launching tube comprising:

a launching tube sealed at its upper end by a frangible diaphragm and open at its lower end;

a piston assembly detachably supported in the lower portion of said launching tube;

a rocket in said launching tube supported by and detachably connected to said piston assembly;

spacing means maintaining said rocket centrally disposed in said launching tube; and

means intermediate the ends of the launching tube for admitting water into said launching tube to a level suflicient to float the launching tube, rocket and piston assembly in an upright attitude;

' said piston assembly separating and confining rocket exhaust gases in the launching tube upon firing of said rocket;

so that the gases emanating from said rocket will propel portions of said piston assembly in opposite directions within the launching tube thereby avoiding unbalanced thrusts on the launching tube.

2. The device as defined in claim 1 wherein said piston assembly includes an upper piston detachably supported in said launching tube and a lower piston detachably connected to said upper piston; and

frangible diaphragm means sealing the nozzle of said rocket;

said piston assembly mounted in non-watertight fit within said launching tube;

said upper piston and said lower piston detachably connected in watertight fit;

so that upon firing of the rocket exhaust gases will burst said frangible diaphragm means and enter said piston assembly separating said upper and lower pistons and detaching said upper piston from the launching tube.

3. The device as defined in claim 2 wherein said upper piston and said lower piston are hollow in form having open adjacent bases, said upper piston having side walls depending downward and said lower piston having side walls extending upward in said launching tube.

4. A device for eliminating launch tube recoil in a floatable rocket launcher using a launching tube comprising:

a launching tube sealed at its upper end by a frangible diaphragm;

a piston assembly detachably supported in the lower portion of said launching tube;

a rocket in said launching tube disposed upon and detachably connected to said piston assembly; spacing means maintaining said rocket centrally disposed in said launching tube;

means admitting water into said launching tube to a level sufiicient to float said launching tube in an upright attitude;

said piston assembly separating upon firing of said rocket;

said piston assembly including an upper piston detachably supported in said launching tube and a lower piston detachably connected to said upper piston;

frangible diaphragm means sealing the nozzle of said rocket;

said piston assembly mounted in non-watertight fit within said launching tube;

said upper piston and said lower piston. detachably connected in watertight fit;

said upper piston and said lower piston hollow in form and having open bases;

said upper piston having side walls depending downward and said lower piston having side walls extending upward in said launching tube; and

said means admitting water into said launching tube including a plurality of orifices positioned a selected distance below the uppper end of said launching tube such that a sufficient space is provided above said orifices to entrap the volume of air necessary to float said launching tube at a desired depth;

so that the gases emanating from said rocket will propel said piston assembly in opposite directions within the launching tube thereby avoiding unbalanced thrusts on the launching tube, and upon firing of the rocket exhaust gases will burst said frangible diaphragm means and enter said piston assembly separating said upper and lower pistons and detaching said upper piston from the launching tube.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,084,600 4/1963 Walker s9 1.7

3,128,670 4/1964 Blacker s9 1.7 3,135,161 6/1964 Oyhus s9 1.7

3,137,203 6/1964 Brown s9 1.7

FOREIGN PATENTS 29,662 12/1884 Germany. 125,652 5/1919 GreatBritain.

BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner.

SAMUEL W. ENGLE, Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US3128670 *Oct 9, 1961Apr 14, 1964Stewart Blacker Latham ValentiFlashless non-recoil gun and round
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GB125652A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3742814 *Jul 6, 1971Jul 3, 1973Us NavyFrangible cover assembly for missile launchers
US3771417 *Aug 9, 1972Nov 13, 1973Messerschmitt Boelkow BlohmRecoilless and detonation-free projectile firing device
US3779130 *Dec 18, 1970Dec 18, 1973Messerschmitt Boelkow BlohmLaunching tube for projectiles and missiles respectively
US3800656 *Nov 4, 1971Apr 2, 1974Messerschmitt Boelkow BlohmLaunching device for projectiles
US3962951 *Apr 1, 1975Jun 15, 1976The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyMissile launching and hold-down device therefor
US4301708 *Jul 25, 1979Nov 24, 1981The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyLaunch tube closure
US4498368 *Oct 6, 1983Feb 12, 1985The United States Of America As Representedby The Secretary Of The NavyFrangible fly through diaphragm for missile launch canister
US4566367 *Dec 8, 1983Jan 28, 1986Underwater Storage LimitedUnderwater weapon systems
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US7472866 *Nov 15, 2006Jan 6, 2009The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyDeployment system and method for subsurface launched unmanned aerial vehicle
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EP0366247A2 *Sep 12, 1989May 2, 1990British Aerospace Public Limited CompanyImpingement pressure regulator
Classifications
U.S. Classification89/1.81, 89/1.701
International ClassificationF41A1/10, F41F3/00, F41A1/00, F41F3/07
Cooperative ClassificationF41A1/10, F41F3/07
European ClassificationF41F3/07, F41A1/10