US 3319522 A
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May 16, 1967 B. B. GOULD ET AL 3,3fl9522 LAUNCHING DEVICE Filed Feb. 16, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 l Ail/l/W/l/WI/l/f 5527 5- 60%9 THUR 7. 5/EH I NVENTORS Keg/ ATTORNEY ay 16, 19? B. B. GOULD ET AL 3,319,522
LAUNCHING DEVICE Filed Feb. 16, 1965 3 Sheetsfiheet 2 May 16, 1967 GOULD ET AL LAUNCHING DEVICE 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Feb. 16, 1965 BEE 5600A? ART/WE TE/Ef/L I NVENTOR.
ATTORNEY United States l atent C 3,319,522 LAUNCHING DEVICE Bert B. Gould, Berkeley, and Arthur T. Biehl, Diablo, Califi, assignors to ME Associates, a corporation of California Filed Feb. 16, 1965, Ser. No. 433,547 10 Claims. (Cl. 89-1313) This application is a continuation-in-part of copending application Serial Number 95,587, filed March 14, 196-1, Launching Device, now abandoned.
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for barrage launching of miniature rockets.
Rockets of major dimensions are launched by means of aiming tubes, guiding rails, or aunching carriages. The miniature rockets to which this invention relates are extremely small in size wherein the rockets have a diameter between and inch and a length between /2 and 6 inches. If a simple tube is used for launching, the nose of finned rockets will be unsupported and divergent from the line of flight, resulting in an unstable trajectory immediately upon leaving the tube. Further, it is desirable that the launching apparatus hold the rockets with an exact degree of security wherein the rocket may be handled and transported safely until its time of use and further to ensure that full ignition and steady burning of the propellant have been effected before the rocket is released for flight. Rails or carriages for launching said miniature rockets would require meticulous manufacturing tolerances and are impractical because of their cost, particularly in a configuration where a plurality of miniature rockets are launched simultaneously.
It has been determined that such miniature rockets can be launched from a support, or matrix of supports, composed of such materials as foamed plastic, like polystyrene or polyurethane foamed with di-isocyanates, and having preformed guides therein.
A very useful employment for the device of the present invention is as armament for a defenseless vehicle such as a truck. It functions as a barrage type weapon to ward off ambushes by giving the vehicle a temporary suppressing fire capability permitting the vehicle to escape the area or giving troops therein time to unload and deliver counter fire.
Briefly the invention is a device for launching a barrage of miniature rockets comprising a supporting matrix having a multiplicity of guide and support channels formed therethrough having forward ends terminating in a first surface thereof and rearward ends terminating in a second surface, a rocket in each of the channels adjacent the second surface for firing out the forward ends thereof, the channels providing protective support and launching guide effect to the rockets, rocket restraining means for holding the rockets in firing position in the channels, and rocket ignition means affixed to the second surface of the matrix.
The invention will be more fully understood by reference to the drawings forming part of this application:
FIGURE 1 is a section view of a foamed plastic launcher for a single miniature rocket with four fins, showing a rocket therein.
FIGURE 2 is a section view taken in the plane 22 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is an end view of a launcher for a three finned rocket.
FIGURE 4 is an end view of a hexagonal array of launching channels for four finned rockets in a foamed plastic block.
FIGURE 5 is a view, similar to FIGURE 4, of a launcher for a number of three finned rockets.
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of a partially assembled rocket launcher with a broken out section.
Patented May 16, 1961 FIGURE 7 is a detail view of part of the broken on section of the module of FIGURE 6 showing a spin sta bilized rocket located therein in cross section.
FIGURE 8 is a cross-section view of a side elevatior of an embodiment of a launcher containing rockets.
FIGURE 9 is a front elevation of FIGURE 7.
FIGURE 10 is a schematic view of an embodiment for sequential electrical ignition of a module.
FIGURE 11 is partial section of a launcher as shown it FIGURE 10 having rockets positioned therein.
FIGURE 12 is a perspective view of a mounting rack for a launching device.
FIGURE 13 is a perspective view of a representative embodiment for mounting the launching devices.
FIGURE 14 is a perspective view of a second representative embodiment for mounting the launching devices.
FIGURE 15 is a side elevation of a truck with a representative embodiment of the invention mounted thereon.
The launcher shown in FIGURES l and 2 comprises a block of foam plastic 6 in which there is a central round opening 8 to receive the body of a rocket 10. Spaced evenly around the central opening 8 are the cruciform slots 12 each of which is adapted to receive a fin 14 of the rocket contained therein. The central opening 8 and/ or the slots 12 are preferably given a slight taper so that they are larger at the exit end. Thus, slight pressure is exerted on the rocket when it is at rest so that it will not be dislodged if the launcher is moved or shaken around. After the rocket has moved a slight distance under its own power, it reaches a point where the clearance is greater so that there is a minimum of friction on the rocket. Preferably both the central opening and the slots are tapered although only the slots or only the central opening may be tapered in some embodiments.
In FIGURE 3 there is shown an end view of a launcher which is substantially the same as that shown in FIG- URES 1 and 2 except that here the launcher has been designed for a three-finned rocket.
FIGURES 4 and 5 show how a plurality of launching slots can be formed in a single block of plastic. Obviously the exact configurations shown are only typical of many possible configurations and the number of launching channels may be greater or smaller than illustrated and the hexagon form shown may be replaced by other shapes.
Instead of tapering the channels, they can be made step-wise. In other words, the entry end of the channel is made sufiiciently small that it fits snugly around the rocket contained therein while the exit end is made large enough to pass the rocket substantially without friction. Since the rocket passes from the small channel to the large, the change can be abrupt.
The supporting matrix can be made of many materials, preferably lightweight ones, such as fiber glass, plastic, resin, or light metal. Particularly adaptable are injection, transfer, and foam-in-place molded plastics or resin due to their lightweight and ease of fabrication. A foam block launching device can be made in many ways. A precast block of foam can be bored or reamed to form the launching channels, or liquid plastic foam can be blown into a mold having the channels defined by removable cores. A preferred method in placing rockets into individual tubes defining guide and support channels with the nozzle ends of the rockets relatively adjacent one end thereof, arranging the tubes in spaced array for effecting barrage dispersion of the rockets when fired, the ends of the tubes having the rocket nozzles relatively adjacent thereto defining a surface, casting a supporting matrix around the tubes securing their arrangement, and affixing ignition means to the surface defined by the ends of the tubes having the rocket nozzles relatively adjacent thereto and the supporting matrix. This method of assembly provides a ready loaded rocket launching device.
The ignition means can be electrical or pyrotechnic based. Electrical heater bridge wires can ignite either the flash sensitive mixture in the nozzle of the rocket or a booster at the forward end of the combustion chamber of the rocket.
A pyrotechnic ignition means particularly adaptable to this invention can be similar to that described in patent application S.N. 103,289, Sheet Igniter by Charles T. Hoard, filed April 17, 1961, now abandoned. That application discloses a method for substantially simultaneous ignition suitable for large numbers of miniature rockets supported in a fiat or curved array so that their nozzles occupy points on a plane or curved surface. A thin sheet of material such as plastic or metal foil may be coated with a pyrotechnic, which, upon ignition at any point, conducts flame with great rapidity over the whole of the coated surface. A second sheet may be added to confine the pyrotechnic coating to increase the rate of burning. Alternatively, inhibitors or the like, may be used to retard the rate of burning to ripple fire the rockets. A remotely controlled signal generator can be used to initiate the burning of the sheet igniter.
FIGURE 6 shows the basic unit of the invention 31 hereafter called a module. A support-ing matrix 32, having a multiplicity of guide and support channels 33 formed therethroguh, has a first surface 34 in which the forward ends of the guide and support channels terminate, and a second surface 36 in which the rearward ends of the guide and support channels terminate. Rocket ignition means, comprised of a sheet igniter 37, is aflixed to the second surface of the matrix. The sheet igniter can be left uncoated (without pyrotechnic) around its periphery and thereby secured to the launching device effecting a climatic seal thereto. The peripheral edges 33 can even be Wrapped around the sides of the module to seal the lateral surfaces 39 as well.
FIGURE 7 is a detail portion of the broken out section of FIGURE 6. There shown is a spin stabilized rocket 41 located in the rearward end 42 of the guide and support channel 43. A rocket restraining means for holding the rocket in firing position in the channel can be effected by making a very close tolerance fit of the rocket in the channel. The friction of the close fit provides the securement of the restraining means. The guide and support channel has an increasing diameter toward the forward end 44 for at least a portion of the length. The amount of constant diameter channel that is required is a length suflicient to support the rocket in axial alignment during handling, shipment, and firing. The slightly diverging diameter portion of the channel permits free movement of the rocket to obtain gyroscopic stability before emerging from the guide tube in free flight. A frangible weatherproof seal 46, such as cellulose tape, can be secured to the first surface to cover the forward end of the channel effecting a climatic seal, thereby preventing the penetration of the propellant and igniter sheet by moisture and other agents which might cause deterioration of the chemical constituents and providing acceptable shelf life to the module. The rockets easily pierce and pass through the seal when they are fired.
The sheet igniter is comprised of a pyrotechnic layer 47 and a metal foil backing 48 located adjacent to rearward end of the rocket. The foil and the pyrotechnic can be bonded together, and to the matrix, by a simple adhesive substance.
The rocket has a single piece deep drawn cast 49 with a tubular propellant grain 51 located therein having an inhibitor coating 52 thereon. A fuze extends through one of the nozzle 54 ports 56 into the flash igniter 57. A flash sensitive igniter is generally placed in the nozzles of the rockets. This receives the ignition stimulus from the ignition means and ignites the rocket fuze. FIGURE 8 shows how a module for use as a barrage miniature rocket launcher 58 could be arranged. A supporting container 59 is formed around the peripheral edges of the matrix 61. Guide tubes 62. define the guide and support channels 63. These tubes can be formed individually of plastic and after insertion in the preformed channels, trimmed to a flush configuration with the surfaces of the matrix, or if the matrix is cast around them, after it hardens. The longitudinal axes can be made so that they diverge from the second surface 64. This effects the barrage dispersion. In the alternative, all of the modules can be made with parallel support and guide channels and then the separate modules aimed in various directions to achieve the dispersion effect. This latter approach would be more economical in production. Studs 65 can be provided for mounting the modules in a firing rack and serving as a gimbaled support means. An exhaust deflecting screen 66 and exhaust passage 67 can be provided, but are not necessary. When one is used the exhaust can be deflected out the top or bottom of the module (bottom exhaust shown in FIGURE 8).
A small spring retainer 68 can be used as the restraining means for holding the rockets 69 in the rear end of the channel, or the diameters of the rockets and the guide channels can be made to interfere to provide a friction fit. The latter is a more acceptable solution when the matrix is made solely from foam plastic, without channel liners, due to the softer composition of the foam being more easily deformable for releasing its engagement with the rocket when the rocket is ignited. The exhaust deflecting screen 66 forming the exhaust port serves as a container wall and protects the sheet igniter from injury or preignition during handling.
In FIGURE 8, a simple electrical connector 72 can be provided for use with an external remote control switch box. The frangible seal 73 can be atfixed to the first surface 74 of the matrix in which all the forward ends 76 of the channels terminate.
FIGURE 10 shows a schematic diagram of how either an electrical or pyrotechnic fuze train can be arranged. If a pyrotechnic system is employed the electric igniter fires the fuze train 78. A pair of fuze lines are used to insure positive ignition. The pyrotechnic burns along the path at a preselected rate to ripple fi-re the rockets and thereby to provide continuous fire for a predeterminable period of time. The length of time of delivering fire can be controlled through the burning rate of the fuze train. Redundant time fuze lines 79 can be provided to further insure ignition. The fuze train sets off the flash igniter of the rockets. A completely electrical ignition system could be provided with individual heater wires for each rocket to set off the flash igniter. An arrangement similar to the schematic shown would provide a relatively simultaneous ignition, but parallel electrical circuits and delay squibs could be used to ripple fire the rows of rockets individually.
FIGURE 11 shows a partial section of the module of FIGURE 10 wherein a fuze train is employed instead of the sheet igniter of FIGURES 6, 7 and 8. Rockets 81 are positioned in guide and support channels 82 of the matrix 83. Fuze lines 84 pass through the flash igniter 86 of the rockets from the electric igniter 87. Cork seals 88 are placed in the rear ends of the channels to seal the matrix. Likewise a frangible seal can also be placed on the front surface.
FIGURE 12 shows one way in which the modules of the invention could be easily and quickly installed in an armament or firing rack arranged for easy reloading.
FIGURE 13 shows a barrage type mechanism using a series of the modules of the present'invention. Rocket launching modules 89 are held in holders 91 which may be integral to the module or separable as shown in FIGURE 12. The holders are held in a gimbaled supporting mount 92, or firing rack, which can be turned to face the rocket exhaust and rocket deflecting screen 93. The individual module holders can also be gimbaled to rotate laterally. A single bar could also be utilized as the gimbaled support means with the modules mounted on a single ball socket friction mount. The defleeting screen contains the backblast of the rockets from the exhaust. Likewise, when the firing rack is rotated 180 to face the screen, it will prevent the rockets from flying into the truck. Because, unlike bullets, these rockets do not achieve their highest velocity until they have flown approximately 50 or more feet, they do not have great energy at close range, and a heavy screen is thus not necessary. At ranges under 1 foot the rocket does not have great penetrating power. The screen is desirable so that the rockets can be turned inward while traveling in friendly territory to prevent an accidental discharge injuring friendly personnel or equipment. The gimbaling apparatus al o permits varied aiming of the rockets to accomodate to the terrain through which the truck may be traveling. An additional safety measure for complete security is covering the ends of the screen with partitions and having a hinged door which will cover the front of the launching device to competely contain the rockets if they are accidentally discharged. Additional rows of modules can be secured to the mounting bracket or rack 94. A firing line inspect and condition indicator 96 can be supplied for monitoring by observer personnel to determine whether the launching device is armed or not.
FIGURE 14 shows another typical embodiment of the invention containing the basic components of the embodiment of FIGURE 13, but utilizing a simple construction. Instead of having a self contained gimbaling apparatus, the modules of FIGURES 8 and 9 can be mounted in a deflecting screen 97 which in turn is gimbaled to rotate on the mounting bracket on rack 98. The modules 99 can be gimbaled within the screen by means of adjustable Wing nuts 101.
FIGURE 15 shows one manner in which the launching devices of FIGURES 13 and 14 can be mounted on a truck.
Although many changes and alterations can be made in the arrangement and fabrication of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, it is to be understood the invent-ion is not to be limited except as defined in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor comprising in combination, at least one module having front and rear surfaces and further having perforations extending entirely therethrough, a miniature rocket in each of said perforations said rockets including ignition means facing toward the rear of said module, pyrotechnic means on the rear surface of said module adapted to communicate with said ignition means, holding means for said module, said holding means being associated with a support type mounting means, a shroud-like deflector member adapted to encompass said support mounting means and to project the effiuent from an ignited rocket in a forwardly direction, and demountable bracket means for mounting said module relative to a mobile body.
2. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 1, wherein the perforations in said module are provided with guide tubes adapted to receive said miniature rocket, said miniature rocket being held in said guide tubes and in spaced relation relative to the front surface of said module by retainer means.
3. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 2, wherein the perforations in said module are arranged to diverge from the rear of the module toward the front thereof.
4. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 1, wherein a series of said modules are longitudinally arranged in spaced relation in said support-type mounting means.
5. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 4, wherein the holding means for said modules is pivotally associated with said demountable bracket means.
6. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 1, wherein said holding means for said module is mounted for pivotal movement relative to said support-type mounting means.
7. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 1, wherein the demountable support means includes a condition indicator so that therefrom it may be determined whether an armed module is positioned in said holding means.
8. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 1, wherein the deflector member is pivotally associated with said demountable bracket means.
9. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor comprising in combination, at least one module having front and rear surfaces and further having perforations extending entirely therethrough, a miniature rocket in each of said perforations said rockets including ignition means facing toward the rear of said module, seal means positioned adjacent the rear surface of said perforations,.ignition means for said miniature rocket interposed between said rocket and the seal means, holding means for said module, said holding means being associated with a support type mounting means, a shroud-like deflector member adapted to encompass said support mounting means and to project the eflluent from an ignited rocket in a forwardly direction, and demountable bracket means for mounting said module relative to a mobile body.
10. A unitary demountable support means including a launching module therefor as claimed in claim 9, wherein said ignition means includes a time delay means for sequentially firing said miniature rockets.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 804,483 11/1905 Lincoln 42-78 956,546 5/1910 Schulrnan 10233 2,376,227 5/ 1945 Brown 1027.Q 2,581,096 1/1952 Gould 89-1.7 2,844,073 7/1958 Re et al. 891.7 2,938,434 5/1960 Myron 891.7 X 3,088,373 5/1963 Robert et al 891.7
FOREIGN PATENTS 578,034 6/1959 Canada. 89,970 8/1937 Sweden. 272,168 12/ 1950 Switzerland.
SAMUEL W. ENGLE, Primary Examiner.