US 3672607 A
A firing control apparatus for teleguided missiles comprising an assembly of a periscopic sighting telescope and an infra-red goniometer adapted to locate, with respect to the sighting axis of a target, a missile emitting infra-red radiation, and to determine its errors of trajectory with respect to the sighting axis, and an associated teleguiding system giving orders at every instant so as to correct the errors measured by the infra-red goniometer. The whole assembly is fixed in one casing having a support permitting pivotal movement of the combined sighting telescope and goniometer about two perpendicular axes, one of which passes through the center of gravity of the apparatus, the optical axes of the telescope and the goniometer constituting two parallel optical paths.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Staufi et al.
[ 51 June 27, 1972  Inventors: Emile Stnufi, Versailles; Roger Fleury,
Boulogne-sur-Seine, both of France Nerd-Aviation Soelete Natlonale de Constructions Aeronautiques, Paris, France  Filed: March 12, 1969  Appl. No.: 806,428
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 413,481, Nov. 24,
 Foreign Application Priority Data Nov. 28, 1963 France ..955387  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,641 ,156 6/1953 Canada............,.....................356I141 3,015,249 1/1962 Taylor ..356/l41 3,466,968 9/1969 Stangl et a1. .89/l.816 X 3,204,102 8/1965 Hand, Jr. ..356/141 3,220,298 1 1/1965 Powell et al. ..356/141 3,406,402 10/1968 Stauffet a1... ..356l141 3,450,479 6/1969 Dauber ..356/141 Primary Examiner-Benjamin A. Borchelt Assistant Examiner-Thomas H. Webb Attorney-Karl W. F locks  ABSTRACT A firing control apparatus for teleguided missiles comprising an assembly of a periscopic sighting telescope and an infra-red goniometer adapted to locate, with respect to the sighting axis of a target, a missile emitting infra-red radiation, and to determine its errors of trajectory with respect to the sighting axis, and an associated teleguiding system giving orders at every instant so as to correct the errors measured by the infra-red goniometer. The whole assembly is fixed in one casing having a support permitting pivotal movement of the combined sighting telescope and goniometer about two perpendicular axes, one of which passes through the center of gravity of the apparatus, the optical axes of the telescope and the goniometer constituting two parallel optical paths.
6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENIEDauuz 1 m2 SHEEI 10$ 3 SIGHTING TELESCOPE INFRA-RED DIRECTION FINDER UNIT IN A TELEGUIDING DEVICE FOR MISSILES This application is a continuation-in-part of parent application Ser. No. 413,481 of Emil Stauff et al., filed Nov. 24, 1964 now abandoned.
The present invention relates to a firing control system for teleguided missiles and is particularly applicable to a firing control system equipped with a sighting telescope and a goniometer which can detect and angularly locate infra-red sources with respect to its optical axis.
Infra-red direction finders or goniometers are already known which are coupled to a computer and to an electronic order generator, the orders of which have always a tendency to reduce to zero the displacement of a teleguided projectile with respect to the optical axis of the infra-red goniometer.
It is also known that in order to guide and bring the projectile on to a definite target, it is necessary to have a sighting telescope, the optical axis of which is aligned on the target, and the displacements of which during the pursuit of the target are transmitted to the order generator.
For firing by night or in foggy weather, it is already known to utilize an infra-red transformer on the trajectory of the rays so as to enable the operator to see the target.
The essential idea of the invention fonning the object of the present Patent Application is to utilize, on the one hand a sighting telescope, and on the other hand an infra-red goniometer associated with this telescope, for the two tasks which must be carried out simultaneously by the firing control system: to take on charge and to follow the target on the one hand in its optical system, and on the other hand to teleguide the projectile automatically towards the target.
The characteristic feature of the invention of this firing control system for remote-controlled missiles is the combination in a single unit of a sighting telescope used by the operator and an infra-red goniometer which indicates the position in space of the teleguided missile with respect to the target, associated with an order generator which brings to zero the variations in position of the missile with respect to the optical axis of the goniometer and the sighting telescope.
This assumes that the optical axis of the sighting telescope is parallel to that of the goniometer.
In order to obtain this condition, the inventors prefer a fixed rigid mechanical coupling of the two instruments, telescope and goniometer, on a common compact casing unit which is easy to handle by the operator, to an expensive mechanical or electrical (parallel) positioning which is affected by the maladjustment of one of the instruments with respect to the other.
The design of a unit of this kind must further provide, in the very large majority of the various conditions of operation which may be met with on the battlefield, for its use in concealed positions, so as to be out of sight of the enemy, and also in positions which may be located on fixed or mobile bases, more or less protected, on land, in the air or at sea (casemates, armored vehicles, ships, etc.
The present invention has for its object to provide a means which permits the foregoing essential conditions to be satisfied. It is obtained by the grouping together in a rigid and final assembly of the two devices: optical sighting telescope and infra-red goniometer, the sighting axes of which are strictly parallel, this assembly taking the form of a periscope in which the central body is provided with a telescopic extension.
By way of example, the basic principle of the invention is more particularly described below for the case of a periscopic unit without telescopic extension of the central body.
In a first embodiment, the infra-red goniometer is rigidly fixed to the upper part of the periscopic telescope. The said unit thus constituted, having its two sighting axes strictly parallel, is fixed on the supporting base through the intermediary of a swivel-joint (or any other similar device) on the supporting base, the center of which coincides with the center of gravity of the unit, and about which it pivots with two degrees of freedom, corresponding to a rotation about the horizontal axis and a rotation about the vertical axis, under the best conditions of inertia and stability, by a simple manual control (two handles). This form is perticularly recommended when the height of the periscope is not very great.
in a second embodiment, the infra-red goniometer is rigidly fixed to the actual interior of the body of the periscopic telescope. The said unit thus constituted, in which the two visible and infra-red optical axes are strictly parallel, is fixed to its supporting base by means of bearings which permit tracking of the target in the horizontal direction by rotation about its vertical axis, thus ensuring a first degree of freedom.
The tracking of the target in elevation (second degree of freedom) is then obtained by rotation of the head mirror of the telescope about its horizontal axis. As in the previous embodiment, these two movements of rotation are controlled by two suitably arranged handles.
Other characteristic features and advantages will become apparent from the description which follows below of certain preferred forms of embodiment of the invention, reference being made to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a basic diagram showing the utilization of the device;
H6. 2 is a view in side elevation, in cross-section of a first embodiment, in which the goniometer is fixed to the upper portion of the eriscope device, a swivel joint mounting permitting the simultaneous orientation in elevation and laterally, by means of handles;
FIG. 3 is a view in side elevation, in cross-section of a second embodiment, in which the goniometer is incorporated in the telescope, a mounting on bearings giving the orientation laterally, the head mirror pivoting about its horizontal axis permitting orientation in elevation;
FIG. 4 is a view in side elevation, in cross-section, of a third embodiment derived from that of FIG. 3, in which the goniometer is located at the outlet of the periscope in parallel with the human observer;
FIGS. 5 and 6 show diagrammatically two preferred devices for damping the aiming noises, which will be referred to subsequently in the description of the invention.
FIG. 1 shows diagrammatically the method of incorporation of the periscopic firing control device forming the subject of the invention, within the general device (of which the elemerits other than that above are not claimed) for setting in operation a location and remote-control station of a missile in the direction of a target which may itself be fixed or moving.
in this figure, the target is shown at 30, the missile at 31, the periscope apparatus at 33, the observer at 34, the remote-control station at 35, the infra-red sighting axis at 36 (missilegoniometer), at 36A a circuit of information given by the infra-red goniometer and proportional to the aiming error, the optical sighting axis 37, the remote-control circuit 38, the periscope fixing device 39, the supporting base at 40, and the control handle of the periscope at 41, about the center of gravity 0.
A simple examination of FIG. 1 shows that the operator 34 utilizing the firing control apparatus 33 which is the object of the invention, for tracking the target 39, is provided with a remote-control station 35 comprising an error computer and an electronic order generator which transmits to the missile 31 the corrective orders necessary for the evolution of the target so as to annul the error which the indications 36A, 37 supplied by the firing control system 33 forming the object of the invention, concerning the position of the missile 31 with respect to the target 30, make it possible to determine.
It will therefore be readily understood that the group constituted by the firing control apparatus 33 fomiing the object of the invention, the firing operator 34 and the teleguiding station 35 may be employed in the cases of utilization as follows:
Forming the equipment of a mobile field unit, it must have the flexibility necessitated by infantry combat conditions. The periscope claimed by the invention permits observation of the battlefield, the registration of targets and firing within the shelter of a fold in the ground or concealed by obstacles, without being seen by the enemy;
Placed on an armored vehicle, the periscope claimed permits of observation, acquisition and firing within the protection of the armor plating of the vehicle, the height of which, following present-day tendencies, may be as small as possible and being similarly concealed behind obstacles or ridges;
In fixed installations (casemates of fortresses or in installations of ships casemates or in submarines) making it necessary for the observation group remote-control station to be sheltered at a certain depth. In these latter cases, the extension (telescopic or not) of the central body of the periscope will be preferable, as claimed in the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a view in side elevation and cross-section of the firing control apparatus having the following arrangements in accordance with the invention:
The rigid unit is constituted by the whole of the periscope body 11;
On the upper portion of the periscope II, this unit receives the infra-red goniometer I which is integral with the periscope;
This periscope unit is equipped with the optical sighting device consisting of two mirrors or prisms 14 set at 45 on the sighting axis and with an observation telescope 15. This unit may comprise a sighting graticule and an eyepiece (not shown) which reproduce the axis of the sighting telescope for the aiming operator. However, a very practical solution is provided by using an observation telescope 15 having two or more degrees of magnification, one of which is high so as to improve the firing accuracy at long range, or even a zoom device having a uniformly variable magnification.
The infra-red locator goniometer l0 and the sighting unit of the optical system l4, l5, constitute a rigid unit with the body of the periscope II in such manner that the sighting axis and the goniometer axis are strictly parallelv This unit 11 is fixed on the supporting base through the intermediary of a swivel joint 12 (or any other equivalent system), the center of gravity G of the whole of the unit I I being very substantially at the center of this system.
The displacements in elevation or bearing corresponding to the two degrees of freedom of the periscope-goniometer assembly are controlled by the handles 13.
The infra-red goniometer locator is of course equipped with all the electrical connections necessary for the transmission of the indications of position of the missile which it supplies to the whole of the elements (computers, electronic order generator) which form the remote-control station and do not form part of the invention, together with the internal operation of the goniometer.
The operation of the firing control system is as follows:
By acting on the handles 13 and thus effecting a very slight pivotal movement about the center G of the articulation swivel joint, which is the center of gravity of the unit, the aiming operator is capable of maintaining without effort the target at the cross of the graticule of the sighting telescope. He successively employs the adequate magnifications provided by the telescope, which enable him to make more accurate observations.
After firing and the departure of the missile from the launching platform, the teleguided missile travels in the direction of the target and is taken in charge by the infrared goniometer. While the telescope follows the target, the infrared goniometer automatically delivers to the teleguiding station of the firing control system, the error signals obtained as a function of the position of the missile with respect to the optical axis of the apparatus, and the teleguiding system gives the necessary orders to the missile in order to annul these errors. The teleguiding station thus keeps the missile on the sighting axis from the aiming operator to the target.
FIG. 3 is a view in side elevation, in cross-section, of the form of embodiment in which the infra-red goniometer locator is incorporated in the body of the periscope itself.
As compared with FIG. 2, this form of embodiment comprises the following modifications of the equipment:
The infra-red goniometer locator 19 is rigidly mounted in the interior of the periscope body 11, its sighting axis being strictly parallel to the principal axis 20 of the periscope body.
The periscope unit II is coupled to the supporting base 2| (consisting of a field tripod, a turret or the armored roof of a vehicle) through the intermediary of a system which permits pivotal movement about a vertical axis, for example, the bearings 22 two in principle fixed in such manner that the vertical axis 20 of the periscope unit 11 is perpendicular to the face presented by the supporting base 21.
Displacements in elevation of the periscope-goniometer unit are obtained by rotating the head mirror 23 (which may be a prism) common to the periscope and the goniometer, by way of non-limitative example, by means of the gearing composed of toothed wheels 16, a chain 17 and a crank-handle 18, which also serves to efiect orientation in bearing, as is explained later. The crank-handle may be replaced by an electric motor controlled by a rheostat.
Horizontal displacements in bearing of the unit are obtained by causing the latter to pivot, again by the action on the handles 18, about the vertical shaft 20, as has been explained above, or by means of an electric motor controlled by a rheostat.
The center of gravity of the unit is located substantially on the axis of the vertical shaft 20.
The operation of the form of embodiment shown in FIG. 3 is identical with that of the form of embodiment of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a view in side elevation, in cross-section, of a form of embodiment derived from FIG. 3. The firing apparatus is constructed as indicated in FIG. 3, but the infra-red goniometer 19 is mounted at the outlet of the periscope, in parallel with the human observer.
In the three forms of embodiment considered (FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4) it is essential that at the moment of firing, the optical axis of the firing control apparatus should have a definite orientation with respect to the position of the teleguided missile on its launching platform. Two mechanical or electrical interlock systems of a known type (which are not shown) lock the movements about the horizontal and vertical axes during firing and release the apparatus immediately afterwards, when the taking on charge of the missile by the infrared goniometer is effected, so as to avoid the firing operator having the necessity of displacing a heavy unit with large inertia such as a launching platform, in the case of tracking a mobile target.
In the three cases of embodiments considered (FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4) provision has been made, in combination with the firing control system, for the use of damping devices intended to improve the fineness of the tracking of the firing control unit during its displacements about the two abovementioned axes of rotation, especially for the case of firing on a mobile target.
Experience has shown that these devices thus reduce to the maximum extent the difficulties of obtaining precision in the tracking of the target. They have no relation to the damping of vibrations due to shocks or to undesired movements of the firing station, generally caused by gravity or by motors with which the firing vehicle may be equipped.
These damping devices have the purpose of filtering the involuntary movements of the pilot about the sighting axis during the tracking of a mobile target. These movements are currently known as "aiming noises."
These devices may be of any conventional type. The invention prefers the use of frictional contact on nylon plates, or alternatively metal discs in frictional contact in oil, which give excellent results.
F 165. 5 and 6 illustrate two devices employed.
FIG. 5 shows diagrammatically a device for damping out the aiming noises between two portions 41 and 42, capable of displacements in relative rotation. A nylon disc 43, held in position with respect to the part 41 by a nipple 44 rests while sliding on a rubberjoint 45 which in turn rests on the bowl formed for that purpose on the part 42.
FIG. 6 shows diagrammatically a damping device for aiming noises between two parts 41 and 42, capable of displacements in relative rotation. Two sets of discs 46 and 47, alternately interleaved, are respectively fixed to the parts 41 and 42.
The housing 48 which contains these sets is filled with machine oil having a special consistency (climatic behavior) which ensures the desired friction between the faces of the alternate discs and provides the desired clamping.
The fluidtightness of the housing 48 is ensured by rings 49 and also by rubber joints 50 which furthermore also participate in producing the desired damping effect.
What we claim is:
l. A firing control apparatus for locating a missile emitting infra-red radiation with respect to the sighting axis of a target, in order to determine its errors of trajectory with respect to said sighting axis, which apparatus is associated with a guidance system enabling said errors to be annulled at any instant comprising a rigid casing;
a periscopic optical sighting means in said casing disposed to receive and transmit an optical image of the target through the exit aperture thereof;
an infra-red detection means to receive the infra-red radiation and transmit transduced electrical intelligence signals to the guidance system, said detection means being a goniometer rigidly fixed to said casing;
said periscopic optical sighting means and said infra-red detection means being disposed for operation in parallel paths relative to each other for sighting and detecting respectively;
a supporting means attached to said casing for support of said casing to permit a pivotal movement of said sighting and detection means with respect to two perpendicular axes of which at least one passes through the center of gravity of the firing control apparatus.
2. The firing control apparatus of claim 1, further characterized by said sighting means being a periscopic telescope having a head mirror; said infra-red goniometer detection means being rigidly mounted to said periscopic telescope in adjacency to said head mirror; said supporting means including swivel joint means for the attachment of said casing to a fixed frame at the level of the center of gravity of the firing control apparatus; and means to pivot said casing. 3. The firing control apparatus of claim 1, further characterized by said sighting means being a periscopic telescope having a head mirror; said infra-red goniometer detection means being mounted in optical communication with the interior of said case and disposed to intercept reflected rays along the path of the bundle of rays reflected from said head mirror of said periscopic telescope; said head mirror having a mounting means which is pivotal about a horizontal axis; and means connectable to a fixed frame to permit rotation of said casing about a vertical axis passing through the center of gravity of said control apparatus. 4. The firing control apparatus of claim 3, further characterized by said infra-red goniometer detection means being mounted adjacent the exit aperture of the case along the path of rays from said periscopic telescope and receiving rays reflected in a path parallel with said bundle of rays. 5. The firing control apparatus of claim I, further characterized by said supporting means including friction damping means comprising nylon discs to damp movements of said casing in elevation and azimuth. 6. The firing control apparatus of claim 1, further characterized by said supporting means including friction damping means comprising metallic discs immersed in oil to damp movements of said casing in elevation and azimuth.
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