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Publication numberUS3548708 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 22, 1970
Filing dateJul 22, 1968
Priority dateJul 22, 1968
Publication numberUS 3548708 A, US 3548708A, US-A-3548708, US3548708 A, US3548708A
InventorsHubigh Henry O
Original AssigneeUs Navy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pneumatic missile launcher
US 3548708 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent n11 3,548,708

[72] inventor Henry 0.Hublgh [56] References Cited "99 UNTTED STATES PATENTS g i 1 13 2,989,899 6/1961 Siegelet. al s9/1.s1sx I 1 3,125,851 3/1964 Rubinstein etaL... 89/1-.806 [45] Patented Dec. 22,1970

. 3,135,161 6/1964 Pyhus 89/l.818 [73] Assignee the United States of America as represented 3,158,062 11/1964 Feller 89/l.8l8X by the Secretary of the Navy. by mesne assignments Primary Examiner-Samuel W. Engle Attorneys- L. A. Miller, Q. E. Hodges, A. Sopp and Donn McGiehan ABSTRACT: A missile launcher of the tube type having an ex- [54] g gm gfiyfi gg pendable adapter piston in sliding, sealing relationship with w a said tube. The pneumatic charge at the rear of the adapter [52] 0.5. 89/ 1.818, piston is used to propel the adapter piston and the missile from 89/ 1 .806; 124/1 1 the muzzle of the launcher tube. Prior to launch, the adapter [51] hit. F411 3/04 piston is restrained against the pneumatic charge by sear fin- [50] Field of Search 89/ 1.818, gers actuated by air pressure applied to a release piston to 1.809, 1.81, 1.806, 1.807; 124/1 1 release the missile for launch.



SHEET 2 [IF 2 PRESSURE SUPPLY INVENTOR HENRY 0. HU ICH AGENT i l l 1 ATTORNEY PNEUMATIC MISSILE LAUNCHER 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.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to tube-type missile launchers, and more particularly to the expendable pistontype intended to launch missiles having different weights to various predetermined ranges.

Tube-type launchers of the type with which this invention is concerned contemplates the missile being catapulted from the launcher tube after which its reaction engine is ignited. The missile, generally a self-propelled rocket type, then continues under its own power to the target. There are several characteristics required of the tube. Catapulting capability of the launcher must be sufiicient to insure that the missile is propelled clear of the tube and to a sufiicient distance to insure that the missiles motor will have time to assume propulsion of the missile. The launcher should be easy to load, the missile should be protected from adverse atmospheric conditions and the reliability of the system should be high. Additionally, it is desirable that the missile launcher tube be capable of accepting a variety of weights, sizes and configurations of missiles.

Prior art tube-type missile launchers suffer from the disadvantages of not being adaptable to various sizes and configurations of the missiles which may be placed in the tube for launch. Further, the type launcher which expels the missile prior to starting the missiles motor have a rather complex charging system and launching system. Additionally, it is difficult to get a pneumatic seal between the missile and the tube of sufiicient capability to enable satisfactory launch of the missile.

SUMMARY The purpose of the instant invention is to provide a tubetype missile launcher having an expendable piston which solves the problems of the prior art devices. By the use of an expendable piston which is capable of a sliding and sealing relationship with the inner walls of the launching tube and releasably connected by sear fingers to the firing mechanism, the instant invention is capable of launching a variety of sizes and configurations of missiles.

This invention includes the concept of launching a selfpropelled missile from atube-type launcher utilizing pressurized air behind the missile and the adapter piston and the use of air pressure to activate a piston which in turn releases the sear fingers from the expendable adapter piston to fire the missile.

The main elements of the pneumatic system are a pressure regulator, two solenoid valves, an accumlator, and a source of pressurized air. Additionally, a simple electrical system including charging and firing switches attached to the solenoid valves is required. The pressure regulator is set to limit the system pressure to that required by the missile weight for the desired range. The system is charged by supplying compressed air to the charging chamber and to the accumulator. The accumulator adds additional volume of air to supplement the volume of air in the charge chamber. Firing is accomplished by applying air pressure to the release chamber thereby forcing the release piston to disengage the sear fingers from the adapter, at which time the charging air pressure forces the adapter and the missile from the launch tube.

Accordingly, it is the principal object of this invention to provide a tube-type missile launcher utilizing an expendable piston and therefore capable of adapting to a variety of sizes and configurations of missiles.

Another object of this invention is to provide a tube-type missile launcher wherein the missile and the expendable piston is pneumatically expelled from the launching tube the launching being activated by pneumatic pressure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a lateral cross-sectional view of a launch tube and firing mechanism showing an expendable adapter piston and missile contained therein.

FIG. 2 is an electrical and pneumatic schematic showing the connections for charging and firing the missile from the launch tube.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a launch tube 10 having an open muzzle l2. Contained within the launch tube 10 and pointing towards the muzzle end 12, there is shown in a missile 14 having a diameter smaller than the internal diameter of the tube 10. It is to be understood that the missile 14 need not be in sealing relationship with the launch tube 10 and may be somewhat smaller. 2

Immediately behind the missile l4 andadjacent to or in close proximity thereto, there is shown an expendable adapter-piston 16. The adapter-piston 16 is shown to be constructed of multiple drawn sheet metal parts which is considered to be a simple and inexpensive assembly, but it is to be understood that the adapter piston may be made by any suitable well-known manufacturing technique so long as its shape is substantially the shape as shown and isdesigned to seal with the walls of the launch tube. Attached to the end of the adapter-piston 16 adjacent to the missile isa pneumatic skirt seal 18 engaging the launch tube in a-sliding, sealing relationship. An annular groove 20 in the inner-diameter of the launch tube 10 contains an O-ring or the like to complete the sealing of the air pressure contained within the charge chamber 24.

The adapter piston has at its end remote from the missilea cup-shapedring 26 attached in any conventional manner such as for example by welding for the latching engagement of a plurality of scar fingers 28 equally spaced about the inner circumference of the launch tube 10 and within the charge chamber 24. Each sear finger 28 is attached for pivotal motion upon the support 30 which is attached by any conventional manner such as by welding to partition 32. A pipefitting 34 is shown threadedly engaged in an aperture in the launch tube 10 wall at a point having communication with the charge chamber 24.

At the center of the partition 32 there is a piston rod aperture 36 having an annular groove therein for containing an O- ring 38 mating with the piston rod 40 in a sliding sealing relationship. A spool-shaped member 42 is attached to the piston rod 40 at the charge chamber end. The minor diameter of the spool 42 loosely engages the dog 44 on the sear fingers 28.

The other end of the piston rod 40 is attached to the release piston 46 contained within the release chamber 48 in a sliding sealing relationship with the walls of the launch tube 10. The outer periphery of the release piston has an annular groove therein containing an O-ring 50 to provide such a sliding seal. A compression coil spring 52 is interposed between the release piston 46 and the breech closure 54 of the launch tube 10. A shoulder 56, formed in the internal wall of the launch tube 10, limits motion of the release piston 46 toward the partition 32 caused by the spring bias of spring 52. A pipefitting 58 is threadedly engaged in an aperture in the wall of the launch tube and communicates with the release chamber 48 for applying air pressure to release the sear fingers 28.

Referring now to FIG. 2, wherein a pneumatic system and the electrical activating system is shown in schematic form, the charging system will be discussed first. Attached to the pipe fitting 34 which communicates with the charging chamber, there is a conduit 60 of relatively large size communicating with an accumulator ,62. The large size of conduit 60 is provided to assure unrestricted flow between these two components, permitting air in the accumulator to act directly to accelerate the missile upon launch. A supply of pressurized air 64 is fluidly connected through a conduit 66 to a pressure regulator 68. Aconduit 70 connects the output of the pressure regulator 68 to the charge valve 72 which is of the two position latching solenoid type. Conduit 74 fluidly connects the charge" valve to the accumulator 62. Interconnected with conduit 70, on the output side of the pressure regulator 68, is a conduit 76 fluidly connected to the fire valve 78 of the solenoid'type having a spring return, normally in a closed position. A conduit 80 fluidly connects the the valve 78 through pipe fitting 58, and thence into the release chamber 48. A pressure release valve 82 vented to the atmosphere is connected via conduit 84 to the charge chamber.

- A source of electric power 86 is provided for actuation of the solenoid valves; A pair of conductors 90 connect the source of electric power 86 with an opening coil 88 of the DESCRIPTION OF THE OPERATION The launch tube 10 is loaded by first inserting the expendable adapter piston 16 into the muzzle 12 with the cup-shaped ring 26 to the rear. When rammed home, the cup-shaped ring 26 will cam overthe chamfered surface of the sear fingers 28 and arrive in latched position by virtue of the spring bias from spring 52 through the connection of piston 40, spool 42, and dog 44 of the sear finger 28. This position is shown in FIG. 1.

The charge" push button is then momentarily energized causing current to flow from the source of electric power 86 viaconductors 90 to the opening coil 88 of the charge valve 72. Charge valve 72 opens and remains open, permitting air pressure to increase in accumulator 62 and the charge chamber-34 provide conduit 74 and 60; This pressure is regulated by a pressure regulator 58 to the pressure required for the particular weight of missile and'the predetermined range. The charge" valve 72 will remain open so that the source of air pressure 64 may continue to make up any pressure losses that occur in the system and particularly in charge chamber caused by blowby through the adapter seals 22 and 18. Relief valve 82 will vent any excess pressure.

To initiate launching of the missile l4,'the fire pushbottom 100 is pressed causing electric power from source 86 to flow to the closing coil 94 of charge valve 72 thereby closing this valve and further causing current to flow to solenoid coil 102 of the fire valve 78 thereby causing this valve to open. Opening of the fire" valve 78 permits air to flow from the output side of the pressure regulator via conduit 76 and 80 into the release chamber 48. Pressure in the release chamber 48 causes release piston 46 to move in a direction 5 towards the breech closure against the spring bias of spring 52, thereby drawing along with it piston rod 40, spool 42 and'the dogs 44 of the sear fingers 28 (as shown in FIG) 1). Sear fingers 28 are thereby released from the cup-shaped ring 26 of the adapter piston. The adapter piston 16is'thereby released to begin movement towards the muzzle 12 under the influence of the air pressure in the charge chamber 24 and accumulator 62, thus forcing a missile 14 out the muzzle12 of launch tube 10, and accelerates to a velocity sufiicient to clear the tube "and where ignition of-the missile propulsion motor may be in- 15 itiated.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the exact details of the construction shown and described for obvious modifications will occur to persons skilled in the art.

I claim:

1. A missile launcher comprising:

a tube member for receiving a missile, said tube having an open muzzle end and a closed breech end;

an annular partition attached to, and mounted within in spaced relation to the closed breech end of said tube;

an adapter piston means positioned in sliding and sealing relationship in' said tube for forming a charge chamber between said partition and said adapter piston means within said tube;

a release piston means mounted in said tube for axial move ment within the space between said partition and said closed breech end, said piston having a piston rod slidably extending in sealing relation thereto throughthe opening in said partition;

pneumatic pressure means for supplying acharge of pressurized air to said charge chamber;

rneans'for'releasably retaining said adapter piston means against the pressure of said pressurized air;

means actuated by movement of said release piston means for releasing said adapter piston means; and

control means for actuating said release piston means whereby the first piston means is freed to launch a missile from the muzzle of said tube.

2. The missile launcher of claim 1 wherein said pneumatic pressure means further comprises: an accumulator fluidly communicating with said charge chamber for providing a larger effective volume of expanding air in said charge chamber.

3. The missile launcher of claim I wherein said control means further comprises: 5 a source of electric power;

a solenoid charge valve for controlling the flow of air to said charge chamber; a charge switch for activating said charge valve; a solenoid firing valve for controlling the flow of air to said 5 5 release piston means; and

a firing switch for activating said fire valve.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4080868 *Feb 25, 1977Mar 28, 1978Lockheed CorporationSupport and retention mechanism for missiles in launchers
US4333382 *Dec 26, 1979Jun 8, 1982The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyBoost assisted missile launcher
US4480522 *Oct 15, 1981Nov 6, 1984General Dynamics, Pomona DivisionRocket exhaust-gas deflector
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U.S. Classification89/1.818, 124/77, 89/1.806
International ClassificationF41A1/08, F41F3/052, F41F3/00, F41A1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41F3/052, F41A1/08
European ClassificationF41F3/052, F41A1/08