US 3706294 A
A recovery section for a test torpedo having a shape which conforms to the outer contour of the torpedo. An inflatable member is provided which when deflated extends circumferentially about the torpedo recovery section within the contour of the torpedo body and upon inflation assumes a toroidal shape and renders the torpedo positively buoyant causing it to rise to the surface. The inflatable member is formed of a material which tends to assume the original deflated configuration within the torpedo body upon actuation of a deflation device provided within the recovery section.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 3,706,294
Radford Dec. 19, 1972 [541 TORPEDO RECOVERY SYSTEM 1,998,805 4/1935 Driggs ..114/20 R  Inventor: James E. Radford, Silver Spring,
M d Primary Examiner-Benjamin A. Borchelt Assistant Examiner-James M. Hanley 3] sig The United States of America as Att0rneyR. S. Sciascia, J. A. Cooke and R. .1.
represented by the Secretary of the E i k n Navy 22] Filed: Feb. 1, 1971  ABSTRACT  Appl No: 111,391 A recovery section for a test torpedo having a shape which conforms to the outer contour of the torpedo. An inflatable member is provided which when U-S. Cl. R, deflated extends circumferentially about the torpedo llnt. CI. recovery ection within the contour of tho torpedo  Field of Search ..l 14/20 R, 54; 9/9; 244/327 body d upon i fl ti assumes a toroidal Shape and renders the torpedo positively buoyant causing it to  Refermces Cited rise to the surface. The inflatable member is formed of a material which tends to assume the original deflated UNITED STATES PATENTS configuration within the torpedo body upon actuation 2,938,489 5/l960 Cunningham ..114/54 of a deflation device provided within the recovery sec- 2,892,434 6/1959 Ralleo et al. ..l l4/54 tion 2,887,055 5/1959 Bagdanovich et al.
2,775,951 l/l957 Billmeyer ..9/9 UX 1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures 28 I l j I4 22 27 2a 26 24 30 PATENTPEB 19 I973 3.706. 294
INVENTOR James E. Radfo rd AGENT ATTORNEY TORPEDO RECOVERY SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates, in general, to torpedoes and more particularly to recovery apparatus for exercise torpedoes.
In the development of new torpedoes, it is common to utilize exercise torpedoes having similar physical characteristics to the genuine device. It is essential to assure the recovery of the test or exercise torpedoes for various reasons such, for example, as to make possible the recording of information pertaining to the operation of the device under test conditions. Recovery can be quick, assured and economical if the torpedo can be made to surface at the end of its run, or alternatively, if it should malfunction during its run.
In the past, various devices have been developed to convert an exercise torpedo from a negatively buoyant to a positively buoyant condition. Ballast, in the form of a weight or lead shot, has been employed to render a torpedo negatively buoyant until the termination of the run, at which time it is ejected from the device thereby allowing the torpedo to surface. These systems have often proven disadvantageous due to the extreme bulkiness of the ballast material.
Collapsible bags have often been provided which, during the run, are in a deflated condition folded within a special section of the torpedo body. Upon suitable actuation, a gas generator inflates the bags with gas thereby rendering the torpedo positively buoyant. These devices necessitate bulky cooling coils to assure that the gas entering the bags will not be at such a high temperature to injure the bag material. Another disadvantage of providing a test torpedo with collapsible bags is that retrieval of the torpedo upon surfacing continues to be a tedious operation due to the great bulk of the inflated bags. In most instances the bag material is torn or punctured during'the recovery operation thus making them unavailable for further use. This problem remains even if the bags are deflated prior to recovery since they remain exterior to the torpedo body even in their deflated configuration and are therefore apt to be caught and damaged on retrieval apparatus.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, one object of this invention is to provide a new and improved torpedo retrieval system.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a new and improved torpedo retrieval system which is reuseable.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved torpedo retrieval system which is of the inflatable type.
A still further object of this invention is the provision of a new and improved inflatable torpedo recovery member which can be made to deflate upon the surfacing and securing of the test torpedo.
Another still further object of the instant invention is the provision of an inflatable torpedo recovery member which upon deflation automatically returns to its initial configuration within the torpedo body contour.
Briefly, in accordance with one embodiment of this invention, these and other objects are attained by providing in a torpedo hull section having a configuration identical to a'section of the actual torpedo, an inflatable member which, upon inflation, renders the torpedo positively buoyant thereby causing the torpedo to rise to the surface of the water. In its deflated configuration, the inflatable member lies within the outline of the torpedo. Upon actuation by a signal emanating from any one of a number of systems provided within the torpedo, gas contained within a compressed gas container is caused to fill the inflatable member. Upon inflation a float cover which had previously enshrouded the inflatable member is jettisoned and the member attains its inflated configuration. As the torpedo begins to rise, suitable relief valves maintain a constant pressure differential between the ambient water and the pressure within the inflatable member. Means are provided so that upon reaching the surface of the water the inflatable member may be manually deflated from a nearby recovery vessel. The inflatable member is formed of a material which returns to its initial shape upon the cessation of the inflation pressure and therefore, upon deflation, returns to its initial position within the torpedo contour thereby facilitating the retrieval of the test torpedo clue to the absence of extraneous apparatus clinging to the torpedo body.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A more complete appreciation of the invention and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation in partial section of the forward portion of a test torpedo including the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a detailed view in section of a valving arrangement; and
FIG. 3 is a view of the forward portion of a test torpedo wherein the recovery section of the present invention is shown in its inflated configuration.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference characters designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and more particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, the invention comprises a test torpedo recovery hull section 10 of a generally cylindrical shape positioned between two other sections 12 and 14 of the torpedo. The hull section 10 is fixed to the adjacent torpedo sections by virtue of circular clamp bands 28 and 30 which cooperate with adjacent annular grooves formed in the ends of the hull section 10 and the adjacent torpedo section. The hull section 10 is defined by a cylindrical wall 16 whose interior surface defines a housing 18 for a gas storage container as will be described in greater detail hereinafter. A circumferentially extending annular cavity 20 is formed around the hull section 10. The annular cavity 20 is defined by cylindrical wall 16 and a pair of outwardly extending annular flanges 22 and 24 formed integrally thereon at the respective ends thereof. Arcuate cover plates 26 are detachably secured by conventional means, such as, for example, screws 27 to the upper surfaces of the flanges 22 and 24. The screws retain the cover plates 26 affixed to hull section 10 during the run of the torpedo but are adapted to permit disengagement of the plates upon application of an outward force on their inner surfaces.
Still referring to FIG. 1, the apparatus of the present invention includes an inflatable member 30 positioned within the annular cavity and extends continually about the recovery hull section 10. The inflatable member 30-is formed of a reinforced elastomer material such, for example, as natural rubber with a nylon cord fabric woven therein and has an outer polybutadiene skin. The elastic characteristics of the material used in constructing the inflatable member 30 are important in that, upon deflation, it is extremely desirable for the inflatable member to assume its original configuration; i.e., folded within the annular cavity 20. As can be seen in FIG. 1, a compressed gas container 32 is provided within the housing 18 and, by way of appropriate gas feed lines 34, the stored gas may be forced into the inflatable member 30. This inflation process is initiated by a signal resulting from any suitable monitoring source such, for example, as depth sensing devices, over-orunder-speed indicators, or gas leak detectors.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 2, the gas feed line 34 to inflatable member 30 is seen to branch at a coupling 36 into an inflation line 38 and deflation line 40. The inflation line 38 extends through the thin cylindrical wall 16 and is coupled to the inflatable member 30 by means of a rigid disc 42 embedded within a wall of the inflatable member. The deflation line 40 leads to a manual relief valve assembly 44 which may consist of an elongate member 46 slideably positioned within a bore 48 having an annular groove 50 formed centrally thereof. The lower portion of the elongate member 46 has an O-ring 52 seated therein which cooperates with the wall of bore 48 forming a fluid seal between the deflation line 40 and the ambient environment. The elongate member 46 further includes a circumferentially extending flange 54 which slides within the annular groove 50. This flange is designed to shear from the body of the elongate member 46 upon the application of an appropriate axial force to the elongate member.
In the operation of the device, prior to the test run of the torpedo, the inflatable member in its deflated configuration is folded as shown in FIG. 1 and placed within the annular cavity 20 so as to lie within the contour of the torpedo. The cover plates 26 are then fastened by screws 27 so as to enclose the inflatable member within the torpedo. After the torpedo run is completed or upon actuation by any of the systems noted herein before, a diaphragm 56 (FIG. I) in the gas feed line 34 is ruptured by conventional means such, for example, as an explosive driven cutter actuated by an electroresponsive squib firing device (not shown) which permits a compressed gas contained in the container 32 to begin to inflate the member 30. As the member 30 inflates, the outward force on the inner surface of cover plates 26 causes them to become disengaged from the hull section 10. Upon inflation, the inflatable member 30 attains a generally toroidal configuration, as best seen in FIG. 3. A pressure relief valve 58 is provided within the walls of the inflatable member and as the torpedo rises to the surface, gas is bled through the valve thereby maintaining a constant differential between the ambient and the internal ressures. Upon reaching the surface of the water, prior to deflating the inflatable member, a cable (not shown) is attached to the torpedo from the recovery vessel by way of a conventional attachment member such, for example, as a ring 62 at the nose of the torpedo in order to prevent the torpedo from sinking upon subsequent deflation of the member 30. Subsequent to the tethering of the torpedo, operators on a recovery ship may grasp a ring 60 (FIG. 2) attached to the upper portion of the elongate member 46 of the manual relief valve assembly 44 and apply an outward force thereto. Upon the application of an axial force to the elongate member 46, the flange 54 comes into contact with the shoulder formed by annular groove 50 and is thereby sheared away. The elongate member 46 is extricated from the bore 48 thereby breaking the fluid seal formed by the O-ring 52 and thereby allowing the inflatable member 30 to deflate through the deflation line 40. Owing to the elasticity of its constituent material, the member 30 upon deflation returns to its initial configuration with in the torpedo body as shown in FIG. 1. This results in an approximately continuous contour of the torpedo and thereby greatly reduces the possibility of damaging the recovery system during retrieval.
Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.
What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. A recovery section for use with a test torpedo which renders said torpedo positively buoyant comprismg:
a hull section generally conforming in shape to the contour of said torpedo having a cavityformed therein extending circumferencially therearound.
an inflatable elastomeric member made of rubber with nylon cord fabric woven therein covered with an outer polybutadiene skin positioned within said cavity initially in a deflated configuration within and assuming the contour of said test torpedo and adapted to assume a generally toroidal configuration outside said contour upon inflation,
means within said hull section for inflating said inflatable member with a gas in response to a predetermined signal to render said test torpedo positively buoyant,
a manually operated normally closed valve for deflating and returning said inflatable member to a position within said cavity upon surfacing to facilitate recovery, and
automatic pressure relief valve means communicating between the interior of inflatable member and the ambient atmosphere for maintaining a constant pressure differential between said member and said atmosphere while said member is in its inflated condition and as said torpedo rises to the surface.