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Publication numberUS3316808 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 2, 1967
Filing dateOct 12, 1965
Priority dateNov 6, 1964
Also published asDE1428629A1
Publication numberUS 3316808 A, US 3316808A, US-A-3316808, US3316808 A, US3316808A
InventorsFrank Mais
Original AssigneeBoelkow Gmbh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Missile launcher and loading system
US 3316808 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 2, 1967 F. MAIS MISSILE LAUNCHER AND LOADING SYSTEM Filed Oct. 12, 1965 .5 i] I lllir IN VEN TOR Frank Mais ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3 316 808 MISSILE LAUNcnan Ann manure SYSTEM Frank Maia, Munich, Germany, assignor to Bollrow Gesellschaft rnit besciirankter Haftung, Munich, Ger- This invention relates, in general, to a loading and firing device for jet-propelled missiles, and in particular to a new and useful loading and firing device which may be employed with an armored vehicle having means for presenting a missile holder in an operative position while at least one other holder is oriented for loading purposes within a loading space or magazine such as within an armored vehicle.

At the present time there are known rocket firing devices such as ramps having lifting devices for extracting rockets in a vertical orientation from a stack in the interior of a vehicle or carrier which is armored on all sides. Such lifting devices are designed as supports for a pivotal firing stand whose movements are controlled through a sequence circuit. Such a firing arrangement has the advantage over known arrangements with firing stands arranged entirely on the outside of the armored vehicle in that the vehicle will not be recognized by an enemy as a rocket carrier when the firing stand is retracted into the protection of the armor and can be concealed. However, as the rocket attached on the firing stand can be extended from the protection of the armor only when it is arranged in a perpendicular fashion, an enlargement of the silhouette of the carrier vehicles which would cause it to be easily recognized by the enemy is inevitable. A further disadvantage is that the vertical discharge of rockets makes it necessary to open the loading apertures provided in the armor before the start of the lifting device and it cannot be closed again until after the lifting is completed. Even when the apertures for such purposes are made only big enough to permit the extraction of the firing stand with a rocket, the interior of the vehicle is still not sufiiciently protected against enemy action during the periods of time required to accomplish this. In addition, at least the loader needed for the loading operation is exposed Without protection, both with the rocket extended in a firing position, due to the loading aperture remaining open for the lifting device, and with the firing stand retracted because of the residues resulting from ABC-warfare or radiation adhering thereto. A further disadvantage of the prior art devices is the time required for effecting the loading and unloading of such devices.

The present invention provides an improved arrangement of loading and firing device for missiles which permits the maneuverability of the loading device for aiming and firing purposes when on the exterior of the vehicle and also permits its easy retraction into the vehicle in a minimum amount of time. The further advance of the present invention over the prior art is the provision of means which permits one of the firing tubes to be oriented within the vehicle for reloading while the other one is exposed exteriorly of the vehicle for firing purposes. The invention provides a compact firing and loading device suitable for installation in vehicles which are maintained as low as possible and are armored on all sides. The device is particularly applicable for providing a firing means such as a launching tube for jet-propelled missiles.

In accordance with a preferred arrangement the mechanism includes two identical firing mounts for holding and maneuvering firing tubes containing the jet-propelled missiles. The mounts are arranged so that they are movable vertically and laterally independently of each other on a support unit which is pivotable on an axis of symmetry which is advantageously a shaft which is mounted within the vehicle or carrier a short distance below the armor covering in a loading zone or magazine compartment. By such an arrangement it is possible to bring the firing mounts selectively into the vehicle for loading purposes and to move them out of the vehicle for firing purposes. The magazine compartment advantageously includes means for automatically feeding a new tube and missile into engagement with the firing mount which is oriented within the carrier while the other mount remains in a firing position. The mechanism functions to raise the missile into engagement with a connecting element or harness 011 the adjustable mount means which may thereafter be moved with the missile outside of the armor for positioning in a firing location.

The manipulating mechanism for the missile launching tubes advantageously includes missile tube securing elements or mounts which are pivotal about a common shaft located within the armor simultaneously. Thus, in one form of the invention the handling mechanism permits the orientation of one of the launching tubes on the exterior of the armor in a firing position while the other one is located in a magazine for loading and vice versa. In a still further position, both launching tubes are located within the vehicle and close to the top wall thereof when the vehicle carrying them is underway. In order to facilitate driving of the vehicle through rivers or wooded areas, the enclosure is made watertight.

To facilitate the transfer of the launching tubes into and out of the vehicle, the vehicle is advantageously provided with a substantially H-shaped slot which may be uncovered to permit the movement upwardly out of the vehicle of one of the missile tubes and movement downwardly into the vehicle of the other missile tube as the handling mechanism is rotated. The H-shaped aperture which is opened only during the bringing in and moving out of a missile from the armor covering and the retractable cover therefor still provides much more adequate protection for the vehicle and the slot than a vertically extending rocket handling mechanism and independently of the length of the missile.

The handling mechanism for the missile tubes is such that the tubes may be shifted into and out of the armorcovered vehicle While they are being pivoted laterally or vertically for firing purposes. In a preferred arrangement, the handling mechanism advantageously includes a three point suspension for the firing mounts or tubes and permits a tilting of the tubes with the missiles therein about an axis lying parallel to the longitudinal axis of the missile. Thus, any deviations of the gyroscopic plane of the missile from the horizon caused by the position of the carrier vehicle can be easily compensated. As the extending and directing path as well as the moved masses are relatively small and the movement processes may overlap, a surprisingly short extending and directing time is possible, regardless of whether the loading and firing device is designed as a more or less primitive system to be operated by hand or as a program-controlled system automatic coupled with an aiming device.

The handling device for loading and firing the missiles provides for short movement paths and particularly permits a small installation height. This means that the carrier height may be maintained as low as possible and even smaller than the length of the missiles. In addition, a substantially fiat smooth armor covering of the loading zone may be achieved because the vehicle itself may be provided with a magazine having stacks in which the missiles :are packed in firing tubes and arranged in lateral and vertical rows. The loading mechanism includes a transport mechanism which permits the transporting of the missiles within the magazine by a feeding device which operates lengthwise to the longitudinal axis of the missile. Guide fitting means provided at the firing tubes for the missile align automatically with similar guide means located on a conveying means within the magazine and correctly orient the missile for delivery to the handling mechanism for orientation for firing purposes.

A further feature of the invention is that the handling mechanism includes mounting elements held on the ends of telescopic members which are pivotal on a central shaft arranged about a horizontal axis within the vehicle. This makes it possible to maintain the pivot radius of the firing mounts in the loading zone very small and on the other hand it is possible to adjust extreme vertical angles without interfering with the armor covering during the firing of the missiles. The handling mechanism permits orientation on either loading, firing or driving positions of the missile tubes. The mechanism may be arranged for automatic operation and programming to effect the loading of each missile and tube in succession from the magazine to a firing position and the subsequent discharge of the extendable tubes after firing. Because only one firing mount is briefly exposed to enemy action during use, the failure of one firing mount is not fatal since the other one may be used as a complete single firing system. A further advantage of the arrangement is that the relatively low wind resistance of the mount and the tubes makes it possible for the device to be used in rapidly flying airplanes, helicopters and streamlined ships, particularly submarines and submarine chasers.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide loading and firing devices for jet-propelled missiles.

A further object of the invention is to provide a loading and firing device for jet-propelled missiles which is particularly applicable for use with a carrier or vehicle in which there is included a magazine supply for the missiles located within the vehicle with mounting means pivotally mounted within the vehicle for pivotal movement to permit engagement of a missile tube on a first mount and thereafter to permit pivoting of the mounting means to move the tube out of the armored vehicle with the axis of the tube and the missile maintained substantially horizontally and to also effect the simultaneous downward entry of a previously exposed second missile mount into the magazine compartment for loading purposes.

A further object of the invention is to provide a device for engaging and shifting missile launching tubes into and out of an armored vehicle which includes means for pivoting the tubes about a horizontal axis or axle member maintained within the vehicle and wherein the vehicle includes a substantially H-shaped slot to permit the simultaneous shifting of two missile tubes, one into the missile for loading purposes and one out of the vehicle for firing purposes.

A further object of the invention is to provide a missile loading and firing device which permits orientation of only one missile tube exterior of the missile while the other one is being oriented, permits the driving of the vehicle with the two tubes arranged in a protected position directly above the armor plate and into another position in which the firing tube is retracted into the magazine of the vehicle while the previously loaded tube is moved out of the vehicle.

A further object of the invention is to provide a missile loading and firing device which is simple in design, rugged in construction and economical to manufacture.

The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this specification. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its use, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated and described a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The only figure of the drawings, FIG. 1, is a sowewhat schematic partial sectional and partial elevational view of an armored vehicle having a missile loading and firing mechanism constructed in accordance with the invention.

Referring to the drawing, in particular, the invention embodied therein comprises a jet-propelled missile loading and firing device which is located in association with an armored vehicle 1, which is armored on all sides.

In accordance with the invention, the vehicle 1 advantageously includes a forward magazine compartment 73 which is covered by a relatively flat armored top wall and a slightly inclined forward armored wall 72. Rotatably mounted directly below the flat wall 65 Within a magazine compartment is a rotatable shaft 2 of the missile tube mounting means or loading and firing mechanism. Affixed to the shaft 2 for rotation therewith are two oppositely extending telescopic members or setting elements If and 21, respectively. As indicated in FIG. 1, the telescopic member 11 extends upwardly from the shaft 2 and the telescopic member 21 extends downwardly within the vehicle. Each member 11 and 21 includes an extendable portion 11a and 21a, respectively. The lower telescopic portion 21a which is situated within the vehicle in a loading position is shown retracted within the outer portion. The upper portion 11a is shown extracted out of the upper portion. The amount of extension or retraction of the telescopic portions is controlled through a fi'uid pressure supply (not shown) directed to the members 11 and 21.

At the outer end of each of the extendable portions 11a and 21a there is provided socket joint elements 12 and 22, respectively, which provide a pivotal forward mounting for mounting booms or support members 13 and 23, respectively. Respective firing tubes 31 and 41 are mounted on the booms 13 and 23 so that the longitudinal axes thereof are oriented with the respective longitudinal axes of the booms. Additional setting members or support elements 14 and 15 are carried by the boom 13 and the boom 23 carries additional support elements 24 and 25. Each tube 31 and 41 is thus supported in a three point suspension, that is, the ball and socket joints and the upper ends of the setting members 14 and 15 and 24 and 25, respectively. The missile firing tubes 31 and 41, in turn, are supported on firing mounts 1t) and 20, respectively, which are supported above the respective booms 13 and 23.

Within the magazine compartment 79 is located a magazine chamber 9 in which is mounted the shaft 2 which is located below the flat armor covering 65 at a distance that permits both firing mounts 1t) and 20, together with the missile tubes 31 and 41 and the missiles therein 30 and 40, to lie in a horizontal pivotal position within the zone surrounded by the protective walls. This position is achieved when the shaft 2 is rotated to the dot-dash line position indicated to the left of FIG. 1 wherein all of the parts will be located below the armor covering 65. The missiles are oriented in this position when the vehicle 1 is maneuvering or driving. When the launching tube 31 is to be moved to the solid line position indicated in FIG. 1, at least the covering slide 6 and the interconnecting web portion of the *H-shaped slot which is formed in the wall 65 is opened. This permits the setting member 11 to be moved upwardly with the launching platform 10 and during this movement the platform 20 will be rotated downwardly to the load position indicated in the drawing. When all coverings are opened, the slot which is formed in the cover 16 is substantially H-shaped, as indicated at 7. The pivoting of the shaft 2 in the desired amount is accomplished by means of a servo-motor 8 which is operated through a suitable cont-r01 (not shown).

After a missile 40 has been brought in its transport or firing tube 41 to a position to engage the platform or mount 20, holding claws 26 on the platform close around the missile tube and form a form-closing connection there with. In addition, the electrical contacts and connections required for firing and guiding the missile are located in the supporting members 24 and 25. Thereupon the shaft 2 is rotated and the slide 6 is moved off the opening to effect movement of the missile with its axis oriented substantially horizontal or parallel to the axis of the wall 65 outwardly from the interior of the vehicle. After the missile clears the slot 7, the extendable portion 21a may be moved outwardly and the missile mounitng platform 20 may be pivoted as desired in order to orient the tube 41 for firing purposes.

At the same time the other firing mount is lowered from any directed firing position to the loading position within the vehicle and beneath the armor plate 65. The pivoting of the entire handling mechanism by 180" occurs with alternating direction of rotation so that simple force and control mechanisms are desirable, which have not been indicated. The slides 5 and 6 in the position indicated close the H-shaped aperture 7 in a water-tight manner but clear this opening for a short time when the pivoting movement is initiated.

In the preferred operation, as soon as the pivoting movement of the shaft 2 is progressed to the extent that the firing tube 41 is lifted from the loading position and protrudes above the top of the cover 65, a hydraulic pressure distributor (not shown) brings about a stroke of the extendable member 21a to vary the distance between the shaft 2 and the firing mount 20. This distance is varied as a function of the vertical lateral angle preselected through a sighting or aiming device 60. In the firing position the tube 41 is oriented so that the gases discharged by the jet powered missile 40 may flow off freely and unhindered and will not be blocked by any portion of the carrier 1. With the progressing pivoting movement of the shaft 2, there occurs by a common response of the second and third setting member 24 and 25 the adjustment of the vertical angle of the firing mount 20. This causes the pivoting of the mount 20 about the ball socket joint 22 to orient the tube for correct firing attitude. At the same time there also is a pivoting about the axis of the member 21 to achieve the correct sighting lateral angle. If the position of the carrier vehicle 1 causes a deviation of its vertical axis from the plumb line and thus a deviation of the gyroscopic plane of the missile pointing in the firing direction from the natural horizon, it can be compensated by different strokes of the second and third setting members 24 and 25. Selective movement of one or the other of these members 24 and 25 or in the case of the mounting platform 10, the members 14 and 15 will permit accurate sighting of the missile tube associated therewith.

During the extension and the directing of the firing mount 24), the other firing mount 10 moves in a similar manner downwardly through the slot 7 and into the magazine 61. The firing tube 31 which at first remains on the firing mount 10 during the firing of the missile 30 is thrown off after breaking of the electrical connection 17 by opening of the holding claw 16 either before or during the movement of the shaft 2. The claws are opened by an ejector 18 to cause the discharge of the tube which is lost. The ejector 18 is indicated in the drawing by a lever shown in dash-dot lines and is operated hydraulically by means (not shown) in the same manner as the holding claws 28. The throwing off of the tube after the firing of the missile may also be effected by a pulselike tilting movement of the three point suspension of the firing mount which comprises the socket joint 12 with the boom 13 and the two setting members 14 and 15. It may also be effected by only partially opening the slide 6 or 7 to cause the stripping off of the tube when the mount 10 or 20 is retracted within the vehicle.

The return of the firing mount 10 into the pivot position at which it is parallel to the shaft 2 begins with the pivotal movement thereof. Movements bringing the setting member into a zero position occur simultaneously and independently of each other. The vertical angle and the tilted position of the firing mount are shifted to a zero position by corresponding stroke Variations of the setting members 14 and 15. The lateral angle is shifted by rotation of the setting member 11 about its longitudi nal axis. At about the same time the setting member 11 is actuated to retract the retractible portion 11a according to the radius required to match the opening of the H-shaped aperture 7. As soon as the mount is pivoted under the height of the armor 65, the slides 6 and 7 are already moved back into position to cover the magazine 61. The aperture 7 is closed until it is sufficiently watertight despite the projection of either the setting member 11 or the member 21 so that a diving run of the carrier vehicle is possible even with the firing mount extended.

The operating mechanism is programmed so that the pivotal movement of the mounts 20 and 10 about the axes of the members 11 and 21 and in addition the movements of the mounts 10 and 20 about the respective booms 13 and 23 will be effected at the selected times during the rotation about the shaft 2. This sequence is such that one of the tubes, for example, the tube 31, is oriented for firing while the other tube 41 is transported to a position on the member 50 ready for loading. The aiming can be accomplished independently of the loading and vice versa.

The loading mechanism advantageously includes the lift 50 which comprises two lift members 52 arranged at each end of a loading space 61 defined between two magazines 53 and 54. The lift members 52 are adjustable vertically in height on spindles 51 which extend perpendicular to the shaft 2. The elements 52 support therebeween a firing tube 41 containing a missile 40 and they are provided with guide fittings 42 for this purpose at the front ends thereof. Means are provided in the element 52 for shifting it vertically along the spindle 51 into alignment with a correct loading station opposite a magazine 53 or 54. When the elements 52 are raised upwardly sufiiciently, a connecting fitting 43 arranged in the central region of the tube 41 and offset by in relation to guide fittings 42 on the opposite side of the tube 41 is run into the holding claws 26 which are closed forming a forced closing connection and the connection of electrical contacts through connections 27. The loaded firing tube 41 is pivoted from the firing mount 20 into a firing position and occupies, for example, a position of the firing tube 31. Thereafter the relieved lifting members 52 are lowered between the two magazines 53 and 54 for the purpose of being supplied with another missile tube having another missile 30. In order to eject a missile from the magazine racks 53 and 54, there are provided a plurality of feed devices 55 which operate to direct a missile 30 with its tube 41 off the rack and onto the holding devices 52. The missiles with the tubes are pushed after the release of a magazine end barrier or slide 62 which is arranged in each row or series of firing tubes. The slide 62, together with guide fittings 32, on angled guides 63 of each magazine 53 and 54, are moved in the direction of the lift 50 ready for the uptake. The lift 50 is controlled intermittently by the magazine end barrier 62 which, in the unlocked position, acts as a feeler so that one firing tube will be lifted into correlation on the holders 52. The feed device 55 is guided vertically on a spindle 56 so that it may be moved to a selected magazine row. The device 56 presents a shearing rod system 58 which is displaceable by means of a two-step setting member 57 variable in length in a telescopic manner. The system acts on a pressure plate 59 facing the magazine. A bellows-type drive may be substituted for the shear drive if desired.

The movements of the lift and the feed devices are programmed similarly to the movements of the firing and loading device. The magazines are changed when a new set of missiles is to be installed. For this purpose the feed device 55 is brought out of engagement and fastening devices 64 on base plate 9 of the carrier vehicle are unfastened. A loading flap defined by the armor cover 65 is opened. The empty magazines 53 and 54 are exchanged for full ones by means of a lifting device (not shown) and fastened again into the magazine chamber 9.

While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the inventive principles, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.

What is claimed is:

1. A missile loading and firing device for use in a carrier having an armored wall, said loading and firing device comprising a rotatable supporting shaft, a first setting member secured to said shaft and extending outwardly therefrom, a second setting member secured to said shaft and extending outwardly therefrom in a direction substantially opposite to said first setting member, a missile firing mount pivotally carried on the free ends of each of said first and second setting members, said missile firing mounts on said free ends of each of said first and second setting members being movable vertically and laterally independently of each other, and means to rotate said supporting shaft for placing said first setting member into a firing position and said second setting member into a loading position, and for thereafter placing said first setting member into a loading position while said second member is placed into a firing position, said means also being operable to locate said missile firing mounts within said carrier.

2. A missile loading and firing device according to claim 1 including a carrier for said device having an armored wall, and means rotatably mounting said shaft below the armored wall of said carrier.

3. A missile loading device according to claim 2, wherein said armored wall includes a substantially H-shaped slot defined therein having a central cross opening portion being aligned with said setting member and a widened outer portion at each end of the central cross opening provided for permitting the passage of a missile on said mount, and means for closing said H-shaped slot when said setting members with said mounts have been oriented in a selected position.

4. A missile loading and firing device according to claim 1, wherein each of said first and second setting members includes a telescopically extensible portion to permit changing of the distance of said mount from said shaft.

5. A missile loading and firing device according to claim 1, including a boom connected to the outer end of said first and second setting members, pivotal ball and socket means on said boom pivotally supporting said mount at one location, and at least two adjustable connections between said boom and said mount for supporting said mount at two other locations for universal pivotal movement thereof.

6. A missile loading device according to claim 5 including means on said mount for ejecting a missile loading and firing tube.

7. A missile loading and firing device according to claim 1, wherein said missile firing mount includes clamping jaws, a missile firing tube clamped by the jaws of said missile firing mount, said jaws being actionable to engage said firing tube when in a loading position.

8. A missile loading and firing device according to claim 1, including a vehicle having a magazine compartment, said vehicle having a top armored wall, means mounting said shaft below said armored wall, at least one missile magazine rack in said vehicle, a plurality of missile firing tubes with missiles therein stored in said magazine rack, means adjacent said rack for receiving a missile tube with a missile therein and for elevating it to said firing mount on whichever of said first and second mounting members is arranged in a loading position within said magazine compartment.

9. A missile loading device according to claim 8, including an engageable portion of said missile tube, and engaging jaws on said mount engageable on said engageable portion when said receiving means raises said tube and missile upwardly into engagement therein.

No references cited.

BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner.

S. W. ENGLE, Assistant Examiner.

Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *None
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3494250 *May 15, 1968Feb 10, 1970Bolkow GmbhSupport member for a missile launching and guiding device
US3545837 *Dec 9, 1968Dec 8, 1970Hughes Aircraft CoSighting interlock
US3786715 *Jun 1, 1971Jan 22, 1974Even GRapid loading system for missiles
US3974737 *Dec 5, 1974Aug 17, 1976Thomson-CsfSemi-automatic weapon-loading system
US4010672 *Nov 4, 1975Mar 8, 1977Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm GmbhDriving mechanism for the cover of an ammunition magazine on armored land vehicles
US4711151 *Jan 23, 1986Dec 8, 1987Frazer-Nash Ltd.Missile launcher
US4719839 *Feb 14, 1985Jan 19, 1988WerkzeugmaschinenfabrikRotary storage magazine
US4733596 *Jan 30, 1987Mar 29, 1988The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The ArmyAdd-on missile container for military vehicles
US4785710 *Jul 21, 1986Nov 22, 1988Westland PlcHelicopter
US6125734 *Oct 14, 1998Oct 3, 2000The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyMulti-warfare area launcher
US6330866 *May 22, 1998Dec 18, 2001The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyMissile support and alignment assembly
US6382072 *Oct 1, 2001May 7, 2002The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavySupport and alignment assembly
US7013790 *Sep 2, 2003Mar 21, 2006Ibis Tek, LlcSystem and method for deploying a weapon from a stealth position
US7878101 *Aug 9, 2007Feb 1, 2011Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Gmbh & Co. KgWeapon storage and loading system with rocket launcher and ammunition compartment for storing rocket containers
US8146479 *Sep 10, 2009Apr 3, 2012Nexter SystemsRetractable light turret
EP0849559A2 *Nov 13, 1997Jun 24, 1998FRANK ABELS CONSULTING & TECHNOLOGY GmbHAutomatic loading mechanism for armoured vehicle
EP1346186A1 *Dec 7, 2001Sep 24, 2003Forsvarets MaterielverkRocket launcher system and method for controlling a rocket launcher system
Classifications
U.S. Classification89/1.804, 89/1.815, 89/1.816, 89/37.1
International ClassificationF41A23/00, F41F3/04, F41A23/20, F41H7/00, F41A23/42, F41H7/10, F41A9/00, F41F3/00, F41A9/45
Cooperative ClassificationF41A23/20, F41A9/45, F41F3/04, F41A23/42, F41H7/10
European ClassificationF41A23/20, F41F3/04, F41H7/10, F41A9/45, F41A23/42