US 3625108 A
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Dec. 7, 1971 OPEN BREECH FOfJR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN Filed Nov. 25, 1.969
A A. SMITH ETAL 3,625,108
BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER 6 Sheets-Sheet 1 Arthur A. Smith Corbet M. Cornelison Charles Hill,
INVENT 3 w M J /1 Dec. 7, 1971 OPEN BREECH FOL JR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN Filed NOV. 5, 1969 A A. SMITH ETAL BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER FIG. 2
6 Sheets$heet 2 Arthur A. Smith Corbet M. Cornelison Charles Hill,
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Dec. 7, 1971 c. M. CORNELISON 3,625,109
DETENT AND FIRING MECHANISM FOR AN OPEN BREECH HIGH RATE AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER Filed Nov. 3, 1969 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG. 9
Corbef M. Corneli son,
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OPEN BREECH FOUR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER 6 Sheets-Sheet 4.
Filed Nov. 3, 1969 fl VM A S l L M 1- 6| w m L M w fi r UM ACC mm i i I; m m b M mm! 5 mm Q f A. A. SMITH ETAL 3,625,108 OPEN BREECHFOUR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER Dec. 7, 1971 Filed Nov. 5, 1969' Arfhur'A. Smith CorbefM.Cornelison Charles Hill,
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Dec. 7, 1971 s n ETAL 3,625,108
OPEN BREECH FOUR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER 6 Sheets-Sheet 8 Filed Nov. 3. i969 xOm JOmFZOU wmI Iutzm OEPZOU LII PM 1 6mm AM Aw mm W M NW aim tmizw .Uxvom ing w mmummwma 9. $23283 IVA 2 United States Patent O 3,625,108 OPEN BREECH FOUR CYLINDER REVOLVER FOR A TWIN BARREL AUTOMATIC ROCKET LAUNCHER Arthur A. Smith, Corbet M. Cornelison, and Charles Hill, Huntsville, Ala., assignors to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army Filed Nov. 3, 1969, Ser. No. 873,294 Int. Cl. F41f 3/04 U.S. Cl. 891.804 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An automatic high rate, open breech, dual-tube launcher, fed by a four cylinder revolver which generates rotary reciprocating motion. Two rounds are loaded and two rounds are fired each half cycle. The four cylinder revolver is open breech for firing rockets and is provided with a sinusoidal cam track having a piston activated cam therein to provide rotary motion through a 90 arc to permit the loading of two rounds in the lateral cylinders while the two rockets in the vertical cylinders are being fired. The revolver is also disposed for reciprocating motion and also houses the lock and firing detents for holding the rounds in position while the firing current is applied. A pair of hydraulic double acting cylinders actuated by a pair of solenoid valves serve to actuate the launcher. One hydraulic cylinder rotates the revolver to align the chamber with the launching tubes while the second hydraulic cylinder performs the loading operation, reciprocates the revolver to seal and align the firing chambers with the lauching tubes, retracts to clear the seals, and latch the rounds being loaded into the revolver chamber. A pulsing switch operated by revolver motion serves to actuate the hydraulic cylinders. Details of the complete launcher system is more clearly set forth in the patent application filed of even date herewith by Corbet M. Cornelison and entitled Open Breech High Rate Automatic Rocket Launcher.
The rockets fired from the launcher may be the type which includes a propulsion system having a boost phase and an after-boost sustain phase. The rocket boost phase occurs wholly within the launcher tube at all temperatures. The ignition system of the boost and sustain phases is incorporated in the system in a manner which insures that no debris (wires, metal parts, etc.), is ejected from the rear of the launcher tube on firing. Booster thrust termination and ignition of the sustainer motor occurs within the launcher tube and the tube serves as the combustion chamber for the motors.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an open breech high rate rocket launcher.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a rocket launcher with a rotatable reciprocal four barrel revolver which will permit rapid firing of a plurality of rockets.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a revolver for an automatic rocket launcher in which activation and sequencing of the launcher is controlled by revolver motion.
Other objects and advantages will be apparent after a study of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompaying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially cut-away, of the launcher having missiles loaded therein.
Patented Dec. 7, 1971 FIG. 2 is an elevational side view of the launcher of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is an end view, partially in section, of the rear of the launcher.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view' along line 44 of FIG. 3 and illustrates the revolver and ram cylinder assembly.
FIG. 5 is an elevational view partially in section taken, illustrating the revolver and load mechanism therefor.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is an elevational view, partially in section, of a revolver barrel of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is an end view, partially in section, of the revolver barrel illustrated in FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is an elevational view showing, partially in section, one revolver chamber having a rocket therein in firing alignment but not obturated forward, the detents for retaining the rockets in the chamber, and a second revolver chamber in loading position.
FIG. 10 is a schematic drawing of the launcher and illustrates the operation thereof.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As shown in FIG. 1, a rocket launcher 10 includes a frame 11, a loader mechanism 12., a rotatable reciprocal revolver section 14, a pair of launch tubes 16 and a hydraulic actuating assembly 17 for reciprocating movement of revolver 14. The revolver section includes four chambers 18, supported by a pair of yokes 19 and 21 concentrically about hydraulic actuating assembly 17. Two of the chambers are disposed for alignment with the launch tubes to fire rockets 20 therefrom while the other two chambers are being loaded with another pair of rockets.
The loader mechanism (FIGS. 1 and 3) includes a pair of loading chutes 22 and a pair of trays 24 communieating with the chutes. Each chute and tray is separated by a starwheel mechanism 26. The movement of the round is downward while in a horizontal position within the loading chute. Movement is eifected by the combined force of gravity plus a leaf spring assembly (not shown) disposed at the top of the chutes. The motion is intermittent, all rounds moving simultaneously after the bottom round is separated from the stack above by starwheels 26 (FIG. 3) which support the stack in a horizontal fashion to prevent jamming during the loading stage. The starwheel includes four spokes 27 and is made of nylon and engages the rocket along the whole cylindrical body longitudinally. As the starwheel turns, the next spoke of the starwheel positions between the round in the tray and the bottom round in the chute. This allows a low friction surface on which the round to be loaded can slide on without being in contact with the next round to come down. A form sprag clutch 29 permits only one direction of rotation of the starwheel, holds the round in the loader tray and aligns it with the revolver cylinder into which it is loaded. The two loading chutes straddle the rammer so that two rounds are handled jointly during each ram stroke.
To move the rounds into the revolver section, there is provided a loading mechanism 32 (FIGS. 1, 4 and 5) powered by a hydraulic piston '34 of hydraulic mechanism 17, for forward and rearward movement of mechanism 32 (FIGS. 1, 5 and 10). Mechanism 32 includes a loader arm 33 connected to piston 34 for movement therewith and having a loader support member 38 (FIG. 5) secured at one end thereof. The piston and arm are mounted along the axis about which each revolver chamber 18 is concentrically disposed.
A loader member 40 (FIG. is pivotally secured to support member 38 at 50 and is biased in a horizontally extending position therefrom by a spring 52. A spring loaded detent 42 is provided at the forward end 44 of member 40 to rest in a detent ring 45 of the rocket (FIG. 1) when member 40 engages the rocket for loading thereof, to maintain positive control over the round during the loading operation. Movement of piston 34 carries the loader assembly forward and positions the rounds in the revolver chamber. Further details of the loading mechanism is set forth in a patent application filed of even date herewith for Loading Mechanism for an Automatic Rocket Launcher b Mr. Arthur A. Smith.
The revolver includes a four barrel rotatable reciprocating section. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 the barrels are concentrically and rigidly mounted about a center support 63 by yokes 19 and 21. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 each barrel is provided with a slot 47 into which is mounted a spring loaded detent 92 (FIG. 6) having an electrical insulator between the detent and chamber. The detent is disposed for engagement with detent ring 45 of the missile responsive to insertion thereof in the chambers by loader mechanism 32. At the rearward end of each barrel is an angular surface 4,6 which, responsive to rearward movement of the loader arm, engages detent 42 of each loader member 40, causing the member to slide down and disengage from rocket detent ring 45. The face 48 of loading member 40 remains in position and holds the missile forward until the revolver reaches its rearmost position and locks into the round by the separate set of detents and firing contact 92 mounted in the revolver cylinders for retention of the round in the revolver cylinder. A revolver rotating hydraulic piston assembly 39 then rotates revolver 14, 90 to align the two empty chambers with the loading trays and the loaded chambers with the launch tubes in a manner to be discussed below.
To rotate the revolver for loading the second pair of rockets therein, a second piston assembly 39 includes a piston 84 (FIGS. 2, 5 and 10) provided with a rod 86 which extends out of piston cylinder 88. Rod 86 is provided with a cam follower 89 at the end thereof which rides in a sinusoidal cam track assembly 90 disposed about the periphery of the revolver section. A solenoid valve 80 (FIG. 10) is actuated to permit hydraulic fluid to move piston 84 of assembly 39 to rotate the revolver section to align the second pair of chambers with the launcher tubes. The same 90 arc is used clockwise and then counterclockwise for each succeeding cycle of the launchers operation.
To permit the loader assembly 36 to return to pick up another round for loading thereof, the ram is moved rearward carrying the loading mechanism with it. Loading members 40 are pivotally mounted to support member 38 at 50 (FIG. 5) and spring loaded by spring 52 in the support member to retain their initial positions for the loading action. As the loader retracts responsive to rearward movement of piston 34, members 40 are forced to pivot down and ride the body of the next rocket to be loaded, located in the loading trays. When the loader reaches its rearmost position, loading members 40' are biased upward by spring 52, back up behind the round for engagement of detents 42 of members 40 with the rocket detent ring 45 for forward movement of the next pair of rockets.
With a pair of rockets in the chambers aligned with the launcher tubes, piston 34 and arm 33 move forward and carries with them the next pair of rockets to the other two chambers of the revolver. After these two rockets have been positioned in the chambers, piston 34 moves slightly forward and carries with it a pair of cam dogs 54 which engage the revolver causing it to obturate for sealing of the two vertical cylinders of the revolver with the two launch tubes.
To accomplish this, a pair of knuckle like cam dogs 54 (FIGS. 1 and 4) are secured in a cam dog housing 58 for engagement with a pressure plate 60 of the revolver section 14 to force the revolver forward against the force of a spring 62 carried about the cylinder of piston 34 and secured to the frame 11 of the launcher. The forward movement of the revolver forces the revolver chambers in sealed relation with the launch tubes. The scaling is accomplished by providing each revolver barrel with a tapered surface 49 for mating and sealing with a tapered surface 51 of the launch tubes.
To permit engagement of cam dogs 54 with the revolver section, loader arm 33 is provided on opposite sides thereof with a longitudinal cam 66 (FIGS. 1, 4 and 5) having a pair of recesses 68 and 70 at opposite ends thereof. When piston 32 and arm 33 move forward the cam dogs rise out of forward recess 68 to ride along longitudinal cams 66. In this position the cam dogs are in engagement with pressure plate of the revolver section, moving the revolver section forward into obturation position with the launch tubes and at the same time, a switch 71 (FIG. 10) is engaged by the revolver to fire the rockets in the top tube. The ram piston 34 continues to a second position (while revolver and tubes are obturated) until a second switch 72 is tripped closed by the loader and the rocket in the bottom tube is fired. When the piston has reached its forward position of the stroke, the cam dogs fall into the rear recesses of the cam and allows the revolver to be pushed back under force of spring 62. As the ram stroke retracts, a spring 63 (FIG. 1) rotates cam dogs 54 in an opposite direction and allows the cam dogs to slide back along the cam track until they drop back into recesses 68. During deobturation a pulsing switch 48 is depressed by the revolver sending a signal to solenoid valves 78 and 80 (FIG. 10) which retracts piston 34 and initiates the next cycle by energizing the second assembly 39 to rotate the revolver.
To insure that the electrical circuit to the rocket is not completed until the revolver forward obturates and to insure that only the two rockets which are aligned with the launcher tubes will be fired, each chamber is provided with detent pin 92 which is disposed for engagement by a pair of firing springs 96 and 98 (FIGS. 2 and 110') mounted externally of the revolver section and electrically connected to switches 71 and 72 resepctively. When the revolver rotates to its degree rest position (in alignment with the launcher tubes) and forward obturates, the firing springs engage the detents of the chambers in alignment with the launcher tubes. The detent pins are moved inwardly under spring pressure to engage the contact band of the rocket to complete the circuit for firing the rocket.
The operating cycle requires that the rocket loader travel from full forward to full aft and full aft to full forward while the revolver hydraulic valve 80 is held in one position. The revolver must rotate while the rocker loader is traveling from full forward to full aft and must be held stationary while the rocket loader is traveling from full aft to full forward (i.e., the cycle ratio of the rocket loader valve 80 to revolver rotating valve 78 is 2:1). When the rocket loader begins forward travel from full aft the revolver will forward obturate 0.25 inch and when the rocket loader reaches full froward position, the revolver will rear obturate 0.25 inch. The obturating motion of the revolver operates pulsing control switch 48 mounted on the frame externally of the revolver, which provides electrical pulses to control the rocket loader. Only the pulse from revolver rear obturate can be used to control the rotation of the revolver. The switch is closed as the revolver completes rotation, opens as the revolver forward obturates, closes as the revolver rear obturates and opens as the revolver begins rotation. The loader solenoid valve 78 is connected in the circuit so that one pulse will energize it as the next pulse de-energizes it, etc. The electrical cont ol system is more fully set forth in Pat. No. 3,331,284 filed Feb. 4, 1966, by Frank H. Case, Jr. Edgar Losberg and Corbet M. Cornelison for Electrical Control System for Recoilless Canon and issued July 18, 1967.
The hydraulic actuating valves are two position, two stage solenoid operated, i.e., when the solenoid is energized the hydraulic fluid flows in one direction and when the solenoid is de-energized the fluid flows in the opposite direction.
When the revolver rotates to its 90 degree rest position (in alignment with the launcher tubes) and forward obturates, the firing springs 96 and 98 engage the detents 92 of the chambers in alignment with the launcher tubes increasing the detent restraining force to overcome obturation decellarations and completing a portion of the firing circuit. At this point in the cycle, the ground c011- tact and firing circuit contacts are closed, leaving only switches 71 and 72 open. After the rocket loader begins forward travel, the first switch 71 is closed by engagement with the revolver section completing the electrical circuit to the top chamber, and as the loader approaches the end of forward travel, the second switch 72 is closed completing the circuit to the bottom chamber, to launch the rockets in sequence which permits the maximum time interval between the pair of rockets which is consistent with the ignition delays, thrust build up and gas evacuation times perdicated by the rocket characteristics interrelated with the launcher.
The rocket 20 fired from the launcher typically includes booster and sustainer motors. An obturating ring located just aft of the head prevents booster motor gas blow-by and can act as the ground leg of the firing circuit.
An ignition and retention ring secured to the nozzle assembly of the rocket includes the contact ring 45 which is electrically isolated from the metal parts of the missile and electrically connected to squibs (not shown) in the booster and sustainer motors. The launcher detent pin fits into the contact ring and holds the rocket in position during loading and cycling operations and also completes the electrical circuit to the squibs for ignition of the rockets motors.
1. An open breech, high rate, automatic rocket launcher comprising:
(a) storage means having a plurality of rockets therein;
(b) support means having a pair of launch tubes secured thereto;
(c) a four cylinder open breech revolver section disposed for rotation and for reciprocating movement between said storage means; and said launch tubes;
(d) loader means disposed for moving a pair of rockets from said storage means to said revolver cylinders, said loader means disposed for energizetion of the motors of said rockets in said revolver chambers which are in alignment with said launch tubes while simultaneously loading rockets in said chambers which are not in alignment with said launch tubes;
(e) firing circuit means connected to a source of electrical energy for ignition of said rockets in said revolver chambers aligned with said launch tubes responsive to displacement of said loader means; and
(f) detent means carried in said revolver chambers for engagement with said rockets to complete the electrical circuit thereto and to retain said rockets in said revolver chambers;
(g) means for rotating said revolver section including a sinusoidal cam truck secured to said revolver section and piston means including a piston having an arm extending therefrom, a cam follower disposed on the distal end of said arm for riding in said track and rotating said revolver section through substantially a ninety degree arc; and,
(h) a second piston means secured to said support and disposed for reciprocating movement of said revolver section.
2. A rocket launcher as set forth in claim 1 wherein said revolver chambers are concentrically mounted about said second piston means.
3. A rocket launcher as set forth in claim 2 including activation means for actuating said first and second piston means responsive to engagement by said revolver section in response to movement thereof.
4. A rocket launcher as set forth in claim 3 wherein said detent means is mounted in the aft end of each revolver cylinder and insulated therefrom.
5. A rocket launcher as set forth in claim 4 wherein each revolver chamber is provided with release means for releasing said loader means from engagement with said rockets responsive to insertion of said rockets in said revolver chambers by said loader means.
6. A rocket launcher as set forth in claim 5 wherein said loader means is provided with a detent for engagement with said rockets for loading thereof in said revolver section, said release means including an offset portion provided on each revolver chamber for engage ment with said loader detent for release thereof from said rockts responsive to loading thereof into said chambers.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,835,171 5/1958 Lyon 89l57 X 2,972,286 2/1961 Marquardt 89--l55 X 3,263,565 8/1966 Dragonetti et al. 891.804 3,331,284 7/1967 Case, Jr. et al. 89-l35 3,505,927 4/1970 Driscoll 89156 X SAMUEL W. ENGLE, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 89-l.8l4,