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Publication numberUS3807274 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 30, 1974
Filing dateMar 22, 1973
Priority dateAug 7, 1970
Publication numberUS 3807274 A, US 3807274A, US-A-3807274, US3807274 A, US3807274A
InventorsCohen P
Original AssigneeSubcom Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for launching objects from submersibles
US 3807274 A
A system for launching an object from an expulsion or launch tube of a submersible vessel in which there is stored in a computer a plurality of parameters determinative of the described velocity and course of the object subsequent to launch. Thereafter, the object is propelled through the tube and monitored to determine its instantaneous velocity or position. These measured parameters are compared with the stored parameters and a deviation signal is obtained which is used to regulate the subsequent acceleration and direction of movement of the object.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 Cohen METHOD FOR LAUNCHING OBJECTS FROM SUBMERSIBLES [75] lnventorz. Paul Cohen, Glen Cove, NY.

[73] Assignee: Subcom, lnc., Glen Cove, NY.

[22] Filed: Mar. 22, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 343,815 I Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 64,479, Aug. 7,

1970, abandoned.

[52] US. Cl 89/1.81, 89/8, 114/238 [51] Int. Cl F4lf 3/10 [58] Field of Search.. 89/8, 1.809, 1.81, 1.8;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,235,201 3/1941 Cole 124/3 2,852,208 9/1958 Schlesman 244/322 2,989,899 6/1961 Siegel et a1. 89/1.81

[ 1 Apr. 30, 1974 3,018,691 l/1962 Merkin 89/l.5 R

3,121,369 2/1964 Reeves 89/1.812

3,132,562 5/1964 Frevel 89/8 3,374,967 3/1968 Plumley 244/322 X Primary ExaminerSamuel W. Engle Attorney, Agent, or FirmBauer & Amer ABS'I RACT A system for launching an object from an expulsion or launch tube of a submersible vessel in which there is stored in a computer a plurality of parameters determinative of the described velocity and course of the object subsequent to launch. Thereafter, the object is propelled through the tube and monitored to determine its instantaneous velocity or position. These measured parameters are compared with the stored parameters and a deviation signal is obtained which is used to regulate the subsequent acceleration and direction of movement of the object.

8 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PATENTEBAPR so 1974 saw 1 or 5 ow W 1 w v vm 9v 8 INVENTOR. PAUL COHEN ATTORNEYS SHEET 2 BF 6 INVENTOR. PAUL C OH E N BY and Zia ATTORNEYS m mamas can 33071 4 0 V (I02 L98 (I06 m. in Lu! Km l T 0 96 0 FIG.8







INVENTOR. PAUL COHE N ATTORNEYS METHOD FOR LAUNCHING OBJECTS FROM SUBMERSIBLES This application is a Continuation-ln-Part application of my application Ser. No. 64,479, filed Aug. 17, 1970 now abandoned.

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for launching objects from submersible vessels and in particular to a system for launching missiles from submarines.

Objects such as torpedoes, missiles, mines, decoys, instruments, cannisters of waste and other containerized objects must be expelled or catapulted from a submerged vessel through an air-water lock with sufficient velocity to clear the vessel and/or to permit safe actuation of their own propulsion systems. These objects will hereafter be referred to as projectiles.

Launching systems for submarines are classed as internal or external. Internal launching systems comprise a communicating passage or tube from the interior to the exterior of the vessels hull, in many cases bridging an area between the pressure hull and the outer hull. External launching systems consist of tubes which can extend into the pressure hull, but which do not have the capability to be reloaded from the interior of the submarine. External launching tubes can be loaded from the muzzle end and need not necessarily possess a breech door, although access doors and passages to permit the introduction of electric cables or mechanical devices may be present along the lengths of both external and internal launching tubes. This invention applies to both internal and external launchers. The launched object is expelled by admitting a fluid under pressure or by the action of a suitable carriage, hydraulic ram or other catapult means. A breech door is provided at the internal end of the tube. A muzzle door is provided at the exterior or sea end of the tube. Various shutters and other means of streamlining the outer opening may also be present but will not be further described. When the tube is free of water the projectile is loaded within the tube in operative contact with various umbilical cords, mechanical positioning and starting levers, and with the catapult (if that is the source of launch energy). The tube is then filled with water to maintain the proper pressure balance. The outer door is subsequently opened and the object expelled. The force exerted by the pressurized fluid or by the catapult on the projected object causes it to accelerate to the desired speed.

Until recently submarines have conducted launchings in relatively shallow waters, rarely more than several hundred feet deep. One reason has been the virtual absence of any need to conduct submerged launches except from military submarines, and then almost exclusively against targets on the ocean surface. Characteristically, the submarine has run at slow speed, rarely more than a few knots, when it launched its weapons. A submarine and anti-submarine warfare have encountered more difficult operating conditions, and as more functions have arisen for the submarine, it has become advantageous to launch a wide variety of objects under a wide variety of operating conditions. These conditions include launches at greater speeds and depths, and during maneuvers.

Current launching techniques do not adjust to the many variables which determine the optimum launch velocity. Characteristically, current expedients are only concerned with providing enough launch energy to give a safe exit velocity to the ejected object under some narrowly defined upper operating bound. This generally involves some upper limit of speed and some lower limit of depth, since the procedure requires that the ship be assumed to proceed at constant depth, speed and source during the launch process. At lesser speeds and/or depths, the amount of launch energy expended is more than necessary, with a number of deleterious effects resulting, as follows:

The noise transient of the launch process is louder than necessary for the conditions.

The object launched is subjected to unnecessarily high pressures and/or accelerations.

If, on its other hand, the amount of launch energy is controlled according to the specific requirements and factors of a particular launch, safe launches at speeds, depths and other points on the operating envelope not now considered, as in turns, dives and climbs can be made. Determination of the correct projectile velocity is important, for if the object is not expelled with sufficient velocity for the specific conditions, the torques applied by the hydrodynamic process resulting from the flow pattern around the hull and the orientation of the launch tube can cause the object to jam in the launch tube or to be injured by contact with the hull. Effects causing launch jam have been known since the nineteenth century. Means to circumvent these effects have included the extension of massive guides prior to launching. However, no method of dealing with the launch forces in a rotational and organized manner,

with the launching vessel in other than straight line motion, appears in the known literature.

Furthermore, airborne missiles have now been designed to be launched from fully submerged vessels. Their range can be critically affected by the amount of water they must traverse under their own power from launch to water exit. In favorable operating conditions, the excess of launch energy can be used to propel the missile a greater distance through the water before its own propulsion system takes over, or to give the missile a higher velocity as it enters the atmosphere. The described means permit the necessary control to make such use of the launched energy practical and useful.

terminal velocity. If the velocity cannot be achieved, a

warning light is energized. Similarly, if conditions exist in which the ordered velocity results in too high an acceleration for the object, another light is energized. Likewise, since the computers memory can be informed as to what velocities are safe in various conditions, the computer can monitor an ordered velocity setting and inform the operator if it is too high or low.

If an object hangs up in the tube during launch, a dangerous condition can ensue. The most frequent cause of hang ups is too low an exit velocity. Ability to control this velocity during launch or to warn prior to firing if a safe velocity cannot be achieved, is a major factor in giving the described system a high reliability.

It is the object of this invention to provide a launch system by which the velocity of the projected object is controlled during its launching in direct response to the variable conditions of the launching submarine and of the needs of the launched device.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel launching system for projectiles from submarines which computes, prior to launch, the required exit velocity for the conditions at hand.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for launching objects from submarines at depths, speeds, and attitudes not possible at present.

It is another object of the present invention to provide the launch stroke, the launch pressure, or more generally, the launch energy so that it is approximately correct, with some safety factor, for the conditions.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a launch method and apparatus for projectiles in which the variable factors influencing accurate flight of the projectile are monitored, in response to which the expulsion of the projectile from the vessel is controlled.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for the ejection of objects from a submarine so that the optimum level of performance is obtained.

It is another object of the invention to determine automatically when conditions do not permit a safe launch and to so signal and/or to prevent launch. For example, in cases where dynamic fire control information is being fed to the weapon, the order to launch can be given while own ship is in a violent maneuver, but will be suppressed, without further attention from the commander, until the intensity of the maneuver is reduced to a degree which permits a safe launch.

According to the present invention a launch system is provided comprising a catapult or source of pressurized fluid, a computer the inputs of which include selected predetermined factors, some of which are variable, on which accurate flight is determined, a memory for storing the fixed factors, means for monitoring the velocity of the projected object as it accelerates in the launch tube, and means for varying the acceleration of the catapult due to variations in the launch factors.

In particular it is the purpose of the present invention to provide a method for determining (a) the acceleration and velocity curves for a given set of operating conditions and (b) the corrections required in the operation of the catapult to maintain the acceleration and terminal velocity of the projectiles at the required levels.

Further, the present invention provides apparatus for launching projectiles including, as one method, a catapult, means for monitoring the movement of the catapult, means for feeding the result of such monitoring and measurement to a computer in whose memory is impressed signals indicative of predetermined condition of flight, and continuously controlling the movement of the catapult as a result of the intergration of the signals. In another method, a gas generator provides the launch energy and the computer controls the starting of the gas generator, the admission of pressurized gas to the launch tube, means to monitor the velocity and position of the projectile, means for feeding the monitored data to a computer, and means to use said data in conjunction with stored data to determine when admission of pressurized gas to the launch tube should cease.

A full explanation and exposition of the present invention is made in the following description, in which the objects and advantages of the various aspects of the invention are fully illustrated.

To provide for an easier understanding of the method and system of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which the concepts of this invention are conveniently embodied. The apparatus shown is illustrative only of the means, at the disposal of those skilled in this art for the practice of this invention and is not limiting in any sense. The illustrated apparatus does, however, contain certain novel features which are also part of the present invention, as will be more fully described.

The drawings in part, illustrate a submarine expulsion tube and breech door which is fully described in my copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 848,419 and Ser. No. 30,895, filed respectively on Aug. 8, 1969 and Apr. 22, 1970, now US. Pat. Nos. 3,613,640 and 3,643,615, respectively. The general apparata described in these applications is eminently suited as basic structure on which the present invention may be imposed. Briefly, these applications disclose an expulsion tube or passage provided, at least at one end, with a novel breech door mechanism. Accordingly, the disclosure of each of the applications is embodied herein by reference as if more fully set forth.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view along a longitudinal plane of a launch tube, showing the apparatus of the present invention,

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus shown in FIG.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the apparatus taken along line 33 of FIG. 1,

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the apparatus taken along line 44 of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5a is an enlarged fragmented end view of portions of interlock control rod of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1,

FIG. 5b is a cross-section of FIG. 5a taken along line 5b5b,

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing one form of catapult mounting means,

FIGS. 7 and 8 are schematic views similar to FIG. 6 showing other mounting means, respectively,

FIGS. 9a, 9b and 10 are graphs of operating conditions of the present invention,

FIG. 1 la is a schematic end view of an alternative arrangement of catapult motor,

FIG. 11b is a section taken along lines 11b, and

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of a gas generator launching means.

Before turning to a specific description of the present invention it will be advantageous to consider some general aspects concerning the launching of projectiles from submarines. Factors which determine the accurate launching process and consequently the final determinant of muzzle velocity are many as discussed earlier. Briefly, they may fall into four very broad categories, namely:

l. Pre-set data, such as the weight of the object to be launched, the lowest safe terminal velocity for this object, the highest safe acceleration, the maximum launch energy available and the angle between the launching tube centerline and the axis of the submarine. This will be referred to as ballistic data.

2. Data concerning the instantaneous orientation and angular rates of the launching submarine. These are major factors in indicating how the hydrodynamic forces acting lateral to the emerging object vary from normal, where normal represents the flow state with own ship at some reference attitude and velocity. Although a ship has six forms of motion (three translational and three rotational), two of them, surge and sway, are of little significance to a submerged submarine. Thus, as a practical simplification, the equation deals with instantaneous speed, list, pitch, roll rate, pitch rate, yaw rate, and the directions or signs of the list, pitch, roll rate, pitch rate and yaw rate. The ships depth will also be listed in this category of dynamic data.

3. Commands from the operator, such as the range between submarine and target position, time of firing and the desired terminal launch speed (if different from that set in memory). This will be referred to as the command data.

4. Feedback during launch concerning the objects instantaneous velocity or position as it travels down the launch tube. This will be referred to as the launch feedback.

It will thus be seen that each of the factors whether being fixed in origin or instantaneously variable, contribute to the required exit or muzzle velocity of the projectile.

The required muzzle exit velocity Ve is a function of these and, of course, a number of other variables in a relationship which can be expressed in general form as 'Ve =f(So, Do, A, P, P, B0, 2, 2, ss, AR, M, v1 Wrhere:

V1 is the lowest safe exit velocity (from the muzzle of the launching tube) for each specific weapon or device, with ships speed essentially zero, and the other conditions also at their minimums, e.g., P Bo =0.

So is the ships speed at the moment of launch.

Do is the ships depth.

A is the angle between the longitudinal axis of the launching tube and the centerline of the submarine or ship.

Z is the amount of roll or list.

Z is the roll rate.

{ is the pitch angle of the submarine.

l is the instantaneous pitch rate of the submarine.

Bo is the instantaneous turn (yaw) rate of the submarine.

(A, P, 2, i, Z, and B0 are measured with due regard to sign.)

SS is the wave velocity characteristically associated with a specific sea state. This term may not be needed if the launched projectile does not penetrate the sea-air interface.

AR is the increase in range desired over the nominal maximum range of the missile achievable from its own thrust. This term is significant for missiles having a ballistic air trajectory, for it permits their range to be extended by treating the launch tube as, in effect, a first propulsion stage.

M is the mass of the object being expelled, and ,of any water routinely entrained with it.

The specific relationships vary with the nature of the parameter; an exact relationship wholly derived from hydrodynamic and other physical laws is not practical, for the relationships are nonlinear and depend in part upon the configuration of a specific submarine design.

Consequently a series of weighting factors, C1, C2 Cn, must be assigned to each of the respective parameters which is proportional to the weight or emphasis to be given each. For example, the ships speed, which exerts a strong influence on the exit velocity, normally appears as a square term, for the hydrodynamic forces acting on object are proportional to the density according to the formula p S0 where p is the density of the ambient fluid (in this case sea water).

Thus, So must have an effect proportional to its square.

The depth term appears as the first power. To illustrate its significance in techniques of launching which are not inherently compensated against changes in ambient pressure, consider the following case. Suppose that the minimum launch depth involves 20 feet of water over the muzzle door of the tube, and the maximum launch depth involves 400 feet. The static pressure at the shallow depth is that of the atmosphere plus that of 20 feet of water-approximately 24 pounds per square inch. At the maximum depth the static pressure is approximately pounds per square inch.

Suppose that at each of the above depths, a 5g launch force is needed to expel an object which is 24 inches in diameter and weighs 2 tons. If the launch tube were in a vacuum, a pressure of 44 pounds per square inch would create the necessary acceleration. At 20 feet submergence (and aside from drag forces encountered by the object as it emerges), approximately 68 psi would be required. At 400 feet approximately 234 psi would be needed. If the invention herein described is not used, and the force applied is always the same and sufficient for the most extreme case, as in conventional launch systems, over three times as much force is needed is applied at 20 feet submergence.

The given example does not illustrate the extreme range of forces involved. No mention has been made above of the launching tubes inclination. This angle and the objects desired velocity profile in the water also play a part in determining optimum launching forces.

If the tube is horizontal, but canted to the left, and the ship is turning to the left, the hydrodynamic torques tending to cock the launched object are smaller than if the ship is turning to the right. For a tube canted to the right, the situation is reversed. Thus a matrix of coefficients are associated with Bo, and by similar reasoning in the vertical plane, with P.

Another example of the complexity of this situation relates to sea state (SS). Wave velocity varies nonlinearly with sea state. The relationship is approximately An object which must traverse the air-water interface in a stable manner needs more velocity at high sea states than at low.

Taking all of the factors into account the above relationships may be expressed, after repeated measurements have established the constants, by the equation of the following type, for an object which must attain an air trajectory, is launched vertically from a tube whose location relative to the ships rotational axes is known, and does not supply its own thrust until it has penetrated the air-water interface.

It will be noted that Ve is the velocity as the projectile leaves the launch tube. A positive velocity, V, generally less than Ve, but sufficient for stability, should exist as the projectile penetrates the air-water interface. This remaining velocity, V, operates to increase the range which the missile can achieve solely from its own thrust. In special cases, the commander of the launching submarine can reduce his depth, and can use any excess launch energy above that required to achieve Ve, to increase the missiles range.

To understand the possibilities opened up by the computer control being described in this invention, certain physical and tactical factors of submerged missile launches will be described. To simplify the situation, the missile will be assumed neutrally buoyant, that is, gravity forces will be ignored. (First order, this is close to reality).


w weight of missile,

a acceleration (or deceleration),

g the acceleration of gravity. The drag and deceleration acting on the missile, once it enters the water, is as follows: F 1% pV C A (w/g) a (2) Most submarine-launched rocket powered missiles have blunt after bodies. Their drag, with motors off, is high. In order to accelerate in air, their thrust (in air or water) is greater than their weight. Consideration of the above equation (2) will help demonstrate that if the motors are fired with the missile still in the water, the following ensues:

a. The missile quickly reaches a high (for water) terminal velocity.

b. If the depth of water to be penetrated is large (sa, 200 or 300 feet) a significant amount of the total fuel on board the missile is burned during the underwater trajectory.

On the other hand, if the missile does not fire its motors, its velocity begins to drop from the moment it emerges from the tube, at first rapidly, then more slowly. For example, a missile launched at 80 feet per second, with a weight of 4,000 pounds, a diameter of 2 feet, and a drag coefficient of 0.3, would lose about half that velocity in approximately one second. Unless the launching submarine were shallow, the velocity might be reduced to a point where the missiles dynamic stability was questionable before it emerged into the air. The missile can maintain a stable underwater speed if it fires its motors. However, as mentioned above, it comprises its range capability by so doing. In some tactical situations it creates a grave military weakness by so doing, for the noise of the motors firing underwater can be heard at great distances, and can persist for several seconds.

With the means described herein, the submarine commander can make quantitative trade-offs. Two examples will be given:

1. The range to the target is short, and the target is capable of counterattack. The quietest possible launch is imperative. The commander therefore assumes as shallow a depth as he can and fires at the Ve indicated by equation (1) with AR set at Zero.

2. The range to target is greater by an amount AR than the extreme range possible to the missile under its own power. The ship again rises to a shallow depth to fire. It is desirable to impart as much velocity as possible to the missile by the launch process for the following reasons: the energy imparted to the missile by the launch process comes from the large stores of propellant which the submarine can carry rather than that which can be packed within the confines of the missile itself; the launch energy is expended in less time; and its noise can be better isolated from the ocean than that of the missiles motors. The commander therefore orders an exit velocity greater than Ve. Let us say he orders Vm, the maximum which can be achieved with the available energy. Whatever velocity the missile possesses as it leaves the water has been measured by the accelerometers and integrators on its inertial platform. lt is velocity which adds to the range inherent in its own, as yet untouched, motors. The computers aboard the submarine are or can be programmed to determine how much extra range is thus added to the missile trajectory.

For a situation involving an expulsion technique insensitive to sea water pressure, a device with only a water trajectory, and a horizontaltube inclined by only a small angle from the direction of the ship's centerline, the equation can be simplified to:

where the primed coefficients reflect horizontal launch conditions.

Given Ve, known the length of the launching tube, and being informed of the properties of the launching mechanism, e.g., the maximum force available, the minimum force available, and the rapidity with which this force can be varied, (these being launcher properties), the computer can determine the accelerations, velocities, and displacements versus time.

Suppose that the acceleration force comes from a gas under pressure, so that the profile of force versus time is as in FIG. 9a.


Au( 1) l Azz -2) 2 etc.

The computer sums the acceleration intervals until a comparator determines that the desired Ve is reached, that is Ame V6 2 G A 1+G2A Q+ 3 3+- "A ne where At is the interval in which the desired Ve is reached.

Simultaneously, the computer determines the velocity displacement profile, as in FIG. 9b, for, if Se is the distance down the tube at which Ve is reached,

tne Se 2 V At +V2At2+V3At V"'"IAt e The-computer compares Se to the maximum acceleration distance available in thetube. Se must be equal or smaller, or the launch cannot be made without specified limits.

An override can be provided to permit manual entry of a speed higher than Ve. The computer will then determine, by substituting this ordered speed for Ve in the above equations, whether the speed can be attained.

The given set of conditions and formulae is highly suited forthe control of a mechanical catapult system. It is also applicable to a launch where the accelerating force'is obtained from a high pressure gas. Although a gas generator or steam boiler may not always produce gas of precisely the same energy content, and although the device being launched may weigh slightly more or less than estimated, or encounter more or less friction, or the launching ship may during the launch assume a more or less favorable position, the approximate time when the gas pressure should be cut off can be precomputed. Small changes in the cut-off point can be made by the computer on the basis of the feedback 1 data.

Turning now to the drawings there is shown a launch tube device and computer' combined with various means for putting the formula given above into effect.

As seen in FIG. 1 a breech door B, having a hinge mechanism 18 is located at the interior mouth of a passage T. The passage T extends through the interior or pressure hull H and is supported at the muzzle end by a structure or an exterior shell S. The exterior mouth of the passage is provided with a conventional lid L. The breech doorB is movable into a spherical dome D as described in the aforementioned patent applications. The inner end of the tube T is provided with an outwardly facing frame or jamb 10 having a tapered seating edge 12. The breech door B is somewhat disk shaped-and can be dished as is conventional in closures for pressure vessels. Its periphery is furnished with an angularly tapered edge 14 conforming to the seating edge 12. Both the jamb l and the breech door B are somewhat larger in diameter than the tube T itself and accordingly while the jamb is integrally formed within the tube T, the end of the tube forms a shoulder 16 spaced from the seating edge 12. The shoulder 16 is somewhat tapered oppositely to the taper on the seating edge 12 to allow the door B to close therebetween.

The door B is movable upwardly into dome D which is of substantial radius, and integrally attached to the exterior wall of the tube T and of the hull H. A transverse roller R is rotatably journaled at each of its ends across the dome and spaced a short distance backward erture 18 opening into the dome D.

The door B is lifted into the dome D by the mechanism A which is controlled from within the cabin to the interior of the hull H and which comprises a first lever arm 20 and a second lever arm 22, between which extends a hydraulic piston and cylinder 24. The first lever arm 20 is pivotally connected by extending pins 26 to a split yoke secured at the upper end of the breech door B. The end of the second lever arm 22 is integrally formed with the shaft 28 a bi-directional rotary motor 30 mounted within the dome D, the purpose of which will be described later. The motor 30-may be electrical or hydraulic, as desired, and it together with the cylinder 24 are connected to the control mechanism in the cabin of the submarine.

As seen in FIG. 1, the door B is shown in closed position (solid lines) with its tapered edge 14 sealed tightly against the edge 12 of the frame 10 and resting within the groove formed by the shoulder 16. The hydraulic motor 24 is first actuated to pull the doorB inwardly. As this is done, the upper edge of the door B is pushed from the frame 10 and its outer flat face made to-abut and rest on the roller R. (It is assumed, of course, that when this is done. all water had first been removed from passage T and its pressure is made to conform to that inside the cabin.) Thereafter, the rotary motor 30 is activated. The lever arms 20 and 22 are consequently retracted carrying the upper edge of the door B through aperture 18 into the dome D. The door B rides on the roller R and is dragged into a position within the passage within the dome D, as seen by the dotted lines.

When the door B is to be closed, the reverse operation is effected. Namely, the motor 30 is actuated toextend the lever arms 20 and 22. As a result, the door B again rolls on the roller R until its front tapered edge 14 hits the frame 10 whereupon the upper end of the door B tips upward and the door falls. At this stage, the hydraulic motor 24 is caused to elongate seating the door B firmly against the frame as a consequence of which the conforming taper edges 14 and 18 of the frame and door respectively seal.

As so far described the apparatus is similar to that described in the aforementioned applications.

The tube T is generally cylindrical in shape extending from the rear of the dome D to the outer shell S. Extending along the upper surface, in'the manner of a longitudinal rib is a second cylinder 32. The cylinder 32 and the tube T are opened to each other as seen in FIG. 4. The upper cylinder 32, terminates short of the outer shell S and ends in a wall 34 permitting the tube T to join the shell S in its cylindrical form.

At the outer end of the tube T, a conventional swinging muzzle door M is fitted. The door M is similar tothe breech door B in that it is circular, somewhat domed and has a bevelled edge 36 which engageswith a similar edge 38 at the muzzle end of the tube T.

The upper end of the muzzle door M is provided with a bifurcated hinge member 40 which is connected to a second hinge member 42 secured to or integrallymade with a shaft 44 rotatably journaled to-an appropriate structure on the tube. Attached to the rotating shaft-is sealing it against entry of water. The sector gear 46 and the rack 50 are formed with cooperating land sections 54 and 56 respectively so that when the sector gear 46 is overridden the lands mate to prevent rotation of the door M. The control rod 48 extends forwardly into proximity of the breech door actuating motor and is provided at the upper forward end with another rack 58 which engages a pinion 60 secured on the shaft 28 of the motor 30. Operation of motor 30 causes opening and closing of the tube doors. The racks, lands, and pinions are positioned and designed so that the motor 30 cannot cause the linkage 22 to open the breech door B until the muzzle door M is in closed position or opening the muzzle door M when the breech door is open. The interlocking rod 48 thus provides a fail-safe feature.

Various methods of ejecting the projectile can be used with the method of control illustrated. These include mechanical rams, pistons powered by steam or other pressurized fluids, linear induction motors, gas generators, or, as will be used for the first illustration, a launcher comprised of two pulleys, one of them powered, connected by a flexible chain or belt.

The mechanical catapults can be housed inside the upper rib cylinder 32. As an example, consider a catapult mechanism comprising a chain 62 entrained about a pulley 64 at its outer end and a driving gear wheel 66 at its inner end. The gear wheel 66 is connected to the output shaft 68 of the rotary motor 70, preferably hydraulically actuable. Secured to the bottom rung of the chain 62 is a sled 72 having a hook 74 adapted to engage over the end of a torpedo or other missile K. Extending outwardly from the rear end of the sled 72 is a piston spear 76. Mounted beneath the rear wall 34 of the upper cylinder 32 is a hydraulic dashpot or dampening means 78 into which the spear 76 is thrust on the outward catapult. The dashpot 76 acts as a brake for the catapult mechanism.

The hydraulic rotary motor 70 is connected to a source of fluid, preferably oil, under pressure, as in an accumulator 80 through a conduit 82. A valve 84 is located within the conduit, physically, in line with the reciprocal rod 48, which is provided with an extension 86. The valve 84 is designed so as to be normally closed and openable only upon engagement with it by the extension 86. Thus it will be understood that the catapult chain motor 70 is not actuable unless the interlock control rod is in its forward position as seen in full lines in FIGS. 1 and 2, i.e., when the breech door B is fully closed and the muzzle door M fully opened.

The hook 74 is either pivotably or rotatably secured to the sled 72 so that upon loading of the tube with a projectile, the hook may be moved out of contact, so as not to interfere with the loading process. The projectile or missile is generally provided with a suitable hook engaging means to prevent slippage or dislocation of the hook. While the accuation of the chain will be braked by the dashpot 76 the motor 70 may be reversible so that it too can be made to control the final braking. The reversible motor can also be used to bring the hook back to its starting position.

The movement of the shuttle down the length of the catapult, when equated in a time sequence, is indicative of the speed and acceleration of the catapult and, of course, of the projectile. Monitoring of this movement is made by providing a feedback signal indicative of a distance versus time ratio. The feedback devices are mounted within the rib cylinder 32 in conjunction with the catapult.

Three feedback devices are illustrateda tachometer 90 (FIG. 6), a code wheel 92 (FIG. 7), or a series of stationary pick-up coils 94 (FIG. 8) fixedly mounted along the length of the cylinder 32 with which a magnet 96 mounted on the belt 62 reacts. The tachometer 90 or code wheel 92 is mounted on the rotating shaft 68 of the motor and/or its gear train. Since the shafts angular velocity is proportional to the velocity of the catapult shuttle, the tachometer, producing a voltage proportional to its angular velocity, is always indicating projectile velocity. The code wheel, counting the revolutions and parts thereof, indicates the linear position of the shuttle as it progresses down the tube. In the third case, the shuttle carries a permanent magnet, and along the length of the launching tube, coils are mounted at known positions. As the magnet passes each coil, a pulse of energy is sent to the computer. From time between pulses and the distances between the coils the shuttles speed can be determined.

In FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 the apparatus is schematically shown, depicting only so much of the catapult system as is required. The control rod 48, hydraulic accumulator and hydraulic motor 70 as shown and their operation is as previously described. In FIG. 8, the belt 62, shuttle 72 are also schematically shown. A linear induction motor 70 replaces the hydraulic motor 70, in the embodiment of FIG. 11.

In each case the tachometer, code wheel or output coils are of generally conventional construction producing an electrical signal based upon a distance moved versus time ratio or velocity. The tachometer measures velocity directly, the code wheel measures distance as a function of its angular displacement, while the output induction coils register the distance versus time. The distance between coils, divided by the time of passage from one coil to the next, permits computation of velocity. The signal monitored by either means is fed to a control data processor such as a digital or analog computer in which the general method and formula previously described is programmed. The control circuit comprises a computer 98 which is provided with a plurality of inputs 100 based upon the data required in accordance with the aforedescribed formula. The computer is conventional in design having an interval clock, as well as the various internal circuiting required. A visual read out and display 102, including set ting knobs and switches firing button (not shown) is located in the submarine cabin. Various of the inputs 100 are automatic, being derived from the operational apparatus of the vessel. These include speed, depth, roll, roll rate, pitch, pitch rate, and yaw rate.

Certain other inputs are manual settings, such as the identification of the missile or device to be launched,

the identification of the tubes from which the launch will be made, the incremental addition to the maximum range of the missile required by the tactical situation, or an override of the computer-selected exit velocity.

It is of course understood that many unchanging parameters are set permanently into the computer's memory, such as the orientation of each launch tube relative to the ships centerline, and the weight and minimum safe exit velocity (or other boundary condition such as acceleration) of each type of missile or device which is to be launched.

The circuit also includes a servo-valve 104 interposed in the fluid conduit line 82 between the safety valve 84 (operated by control rod extension 86) and the high pressure accumulator 80. Unlike the safety valve the servo-valve is proportional and will pass an amount of fluid dependent upon the strength of the signal obtained. The servo-valve 104 if adjusted by a conventional servomechanism is controlled from a digitalanalog convertor 106 obtaining the control signal from a counter-comparator 108. If the servo-valve is set in steps, item be controlled directly by the comparator 108. As in FIG. 6, a code wheel structure sends out digital words which can be compared directly in the comparator 108 with words being generated by the com- .pute'r. A tachometer 90, generating an analog signal proportional to velocity, must first have this signal converted in an analog-to-digital convertor. The resultant digital equivalents can be compared in comparator 108 with digital words indicative of desired velocity being created by the computer. In the case of the coils 94 and magnet arrangement 96, the pulses obtained from them may be fed, after suitable amplification and shaping,

directly to the computer 98 where the computation of projectile velocity is made, compared to the desired velocity time profile, and proper correcting signals, as necessary, sent to servo-valve 104. In this latter case -the counter-comparator 108 may be omitted, as seen in FIG. 8. However, an amplifier/filter 108' is required.

Operatively, employing both the formula and apparatus described, the computer controls the rate of flow of pressurized fluid to maintain the desired velocity-time orspace-time profile. A sample profile is shown in FIG. 9bfor a linearly increasing velocity, that is, for a constant. This is, of course, the equivalent of a velocity which increases with distance down the launcher as in FIG. 10; for v V 2as. The numerical quantities shown in FIGS.'9b and 10 are for illustration only, and are based upon a catapult stroke of 16 feet and an acceleration of I00 feet per second squared.

Specifically when the firing button is depressed, the computer opens the servo-valve 104, allowing fluid from the accumulator 80 to flow through valve 84 (which must previously be opened by the control rod 48) to the motor 70. The amount of initial opening is not random as the computer makes a preliminary estimate for the amount of pressure that will be required, and so sets the valve initially. Power is transferred to the shuttle 72 from the rotating power source, i.e., hydraulic motor 70. On the other hand the translating source such as the linear induction motor illustrated in FIG. 11 may be used. In either case conventional feedback and se'rvo' mechanism theory is applied to create an essentially closed loop situation in which a code wheel92, as'in FIG. 7 or a series of pick-up coils 94 excited 'by the magnet '96 on the shuttle as in FIG. 8 is used to measure the position of the shuttle (and its attached objec't) down the tube. Alternatively, a tachometer 90, as in FIG. 6 can be used to generate a feedback signal. Many other position or velocity sensors can be used, as will nowbe obvious to those skilled in this art. Forexample, sonic probes or strain gauges mounted on the exterior of the tube are also suitable.

Since the computer used to illustrate this invention is preferably of the digital type, the analog-to-digital and digital-'to-analog convertors are used as required to change the form of signals, as seen in FIGS. 6 and 7. A description of a/d and d/a conversion equiqment and techniques is contained in a series of articles in Electronic Design, Oct. 24, 1968, Dec. 5, 1968, Dec. I9, 1968 and Jan. 4, 1970. Such conversion devices are routinely available from the electronics industry.

The code wheel 92, as in FIG. 7 can send a digital word unique to a given angle of rotation. This is equivalent to a given position of the shuttle down the tube if a non-slipping transmission link exists between motor and shuttle. Electro-mechanical servo-valves are wellknown in the servo field, and can be procured from var ious sources such as the Vickers Division of the Sperry Rand Corp.

The nature of the tachometer feedback for servos is described in pages 273-285 and elsewhere in Servomechanisms and Regulating System Design, Vol. I, Chestnut and Mayer, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1951.

An alternate construction is shown in FIG. 1 1, for the motive means for driving the chain 62 may be combined with the monitoring system shown in FIG. '11. Here a linear electric motor comprising a polar magnet 112 arranged between a series of alternating electric magnets 114 is used to drive the chain 62. The electromagnets 114 are connected to switching circuit 116 which is fed from the computer'98.

Two words can be formed by the computer, one selecting the pole on the stator of the linear motor to be energized, the other determining the sign and magnitude of the voltage to be applied. These are applied to a switching network which energizes the stator in a manner to accelerate, decelerate, and reverse themotion of the shuttle which carries a'pair of north-south poles acting as armature.

Although the total launching transient is in the order of a second, and large masses can be involved, the order of magnitude of energy required versus time is known to the computer as soon as the object to 'be launched and other required information is entered. The computer, therefore, makes as nearly-correct initial setting of the control valve or the initial pattern of energizing the linear motor. The feedback loops are to insure that, by relatively minor corrections, the process is kept under control.

The present launch system is adaptable for the launching of missile from vertical tubes as well as with apparatus for propelling the missile by means other than a mechanical sled. With only slight adjustment of the parametric input to the computer, the actual position of the tube may be changed to a vertical orientation and specific propulsion means connected to a gas propulsion or expulsion system. Both modifications are illustrated in FIG. 12. They are shown jointly, for the sake of convenience only, and it will be understood-that each may be applied separate. For example, the gas propulsion system may be easily used in a horizontal tube.

Compressed air has been used for the launching'of torpedoes since at least 1870. More recently advantage has been taken of technical developments in solid and liquid fuels to generate pressurized gases on demand, and thus to provide launch energy for submarines. Missile-carrying submarines eject their missiles via the use of gas generators.

In this country the NASA space program and various Air Force and Navy programs have'develop'ed a wide variety of gas generators, some of which can'be'star't'ed and stopped repeatedly and adjusted, within limits, as

to pressure. The variable thrust rocket motors used in the Apollo program are illustrative.

FIG. 12 illustrates means to launch a missile vertically while the launching ship maintains forward velocity. Vertical launches are currently made while the submarine is at a standstill or while hovering with minimal forward velocity. This is often a serious tactical disadvantage since the ship, itself, becomes a good target. In FIG. 12 a vertical launch tube T is shown instrumented with induction coils 94 arranged on the exterior of the tube. The induction coils are similar to these depicted in FIG. 8 and spaced apart a predetermined distance to inform the computer of the missiles instant position as it ascends the tube. The tube is also provided with a series of pressure pick-ups 120 which inform the computer how heavily the missile is pushing locally on the walls of the tube. Distribution of these pressure pickups 120 provides an indication of the direction and intensity of the torques being applied to the missile as it emerges into the flow of water around the hull.

The pressure sensors 120 may be of any desired and conventional construction such as are disclosed in Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, Baumeister and Marks, Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Copyright 1958, 1967 by McGraw- Hill. The specific details thereof form no part of this invention.

Such sensors generally designated as 120 sense the changes in pressure occurring locally between the missile and the tube as hydrodynamic forces tend to divert the missile from its desired course. In FIG. 12, the pressure sensed may be that of the fluid expelling the missile and passing upward between the missile and the tube. Thus, if the expelling fluid is flowing uniformly through the annulus defined between the missile and tube, pressure should be constant thereabout. If the missile comes closer to one wall and therefore further from the opposite wall, differences in pressure will be sensed at the local places where the sensors 120 are positioned. Hence, any changes in the normal pressure about the missile will suggest a displacement of the missile from its desired path.

However, it is within the contemplation of the scope of the invention that any other form of sensing means 120 may be utilized to sense changes of the missile with respect to the tube or its deviation from its desired course. Such sensors 120 may be electrical and/or mechanical and may be a matter of choice such as any one or more of those that are conventionally known for such purposes. Examples thereof may be found in the aforementioned. Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers.

A gas generator of any desired type is provided to expel the missile. The type illustrated, however, comprises a steam generator consisting of a source of hydrogen 124, a source of oxygen 126, suitable control valves 128 and a combination chamber 130. The gas generator creating steam by the reaction of H and O is quite advantageous aboard a submarine, inasmuch as both components may be easily stored or produced on board ship, eliminating the need for the ship to carry excessive amounts of heavy hydrocarbon fuel.

The combustion chamber 130 feeds a manifold 132 which leads into a series of radially disposed conduits 134 running longitudinally outside the tube T. Arranged at predetermined positions along the length of the conduits 134 are a series of entry ports 136 communicating with the interior of the tube. Each of the entry ports 136 is controlled by a throttling valve 138 connected for automatic control to the launch computer. Preferably, each conduit 134 is provided with a port 136 at the lowermost extremity of the tube and a plurality of ports spaced axially along the upper half of the tube. The corresponding ports of each conduit are arranged on the same vertical level so that a series of parallel rings of ports, axially spaced along the length of tube, result. Four conduits 134 and four ports 136 in each conduit should be sufficient for the intended purposes; however, fewer or more of each can be used if needed or desired for a greater degree of control. A blow-off or pressure release valve 140 is also located in communication with the manifold 132.

In operation, the gas generator is activated to produce a head of steam sufficient to cause the missile to move vertically outward of the tube. The launch parameters, and operation of the launch system, are similar to and conform to the method previously disclosed. Initially, each of the valves 136 at the lowermost extremity of the tube are opened so that all of the generated steam is impressed on the base of the missile giving the missile a firm and full axial thrust. As the missile rises, within the tube, it is subject to various torque producing forces. The changing torques are sensed by the pressure pick-ups and so inform the computer. In the event that additional steam pressure or counter torque is required, appropriate ones of ports 136 are opened. One or more of the ports 136 may be activated at any one time as required to obtain the predetermined missile velocity, or to correct any imbalance in the steam driving force. In the event there is too much steam pressure, the excess steam is blown-off through valve 140. Preferably, each of the valves is capable of regulated flow so that the volume and steam pressure released can be efficiently throttled.

As the missile emerges from the tube and rises further within it, the upsetting torques grow rapidly larger. It is for this reason that it is preferred to concentrate the pick-up sensors 120 and the ports 136 near to the top of the tube. The pressure pick-up sensors 120 may be of the conventional design and may be scattered within the lengthwise and radially within the tube or they may be placed at predetermined ports. Preferably, of course, they should be arranged so that they correspond with the gas entry ports to provide a truly responsive system.

The final section of the launch tube is flared outwardly to give greater clearance to the missile. Some lateral movement of the missile cannot be avoided as it is expelled since the missile is subject to and is buffeted by the hydrodynamic on control forces acted on the ship.

The velocity of the missile is monitored by the induction coils 94' in a system described in connection with FIG. 8. The coils 94 produce a signal which is translated by the computer, to produce more or less steam as required to propel the missile. The blow-off valve is used to dump gases or steam quickly into the sea should it be required to decrease quickly the pressure within the tube. Suitable interlocking controls between the valve 140 and the combustion generator to shut one on the actuation of the other may also be employed.

Although solid fuels and many combinations of liquid fuels may be used, hydrogen and oxygen are shown here advisedly because their product, steam, is condensible in water, thus reducing to a minimum any possibility of a bubble rising to the surface to indicate the submarines position.

Furthermore, oxygen must be carried by submarines .for the life support system and this gas is already on board. Hydrogen is needed if the submarine uses fuel cells for auxiliary or main power, or uses several of the hydrogenoxygen thermal cycles that are candidates for submarine propulsion.

By placing reagent tanks and combustion chamber outboard of the pressure hull, and under the deck, two advantages are obtained. First, the weight of the tanks and combustion chamber is less of a penalty to the buoyancy of the pressure hull, and any casualty in this system is not an immediate threat to the safety of the submarine. Second, placing the equipment at the top of the pressure hull rather than in a tank on the sides or under the bottom of the pressure hull, makes the equipment accessible for maintenance and inspection whenever the submarine is surfaced. Drydocking is not required.

lt-will be obvious that the launching of a large variety of objects over a great range of depths, with the submarinesoperating at a wide range of speeds, and with the launchers at a variety of attitudes may be made using the present invention. The objects that can be launched have varying cross sections and diameters, up to whatever will fit in a tube of circular cross sections and given diameter. They can be ejected at a chosen speed, by turning a dial, with automatic compensation for the mass of the object, for the speed of the ship, for its depth, and for any variations in resistance caused by the shapeand size of the objects or by manufacturing variations. Furthermore, the objects can be given, within the limits of the catapult forces available and the terminal velocity required, any desired profile of acceleration versus time. For example, the least possible acceleration stress for the terminal velocity chosen follows if the system operates in a manner to keep acceleration constant throughout the launch stroke. Means are provided to inform the operator if the terminal velocity chosen cannot be reached under the existing circumstances.

A major advance of this invention is the placing of the launching process under the control of a computer which contains sufficient memory for the ballistic information that is necessary, and which can quickly compute (a) the acceleration and velocity curves required for a given set of operating conditions, and (b) the corrections necessary to keep the acceleration force at the needed levels. The launching stroke, though of short duration, is under continuous control, by computer and by feedback from suitable measuring devices.

It will thus be seen that by employing the formula and apparatus thus described, a novel launch system is devised, obtaining optimum performance and control of the projectile. Such method and apparatus is, of course, merely illustrative of the present invention and may, as will be evident to those skilled in this art, by readily modified and equivalents used. Accordingly, the disclosure should not be taken as being a limitation on the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. The method of launching an object along a predetermined course and at a predetermined velocity from a launch tube or the like of a submerged vessel comprising storing in a computer predetermined information of the lateral forces that will be acting on the object as it is launched and emerges from the launch tube of the submerged vessel into the water and of the velocity and intended course of the object subsequent to the launch,

propelling the object through the launch tube to cause the same to emerge therefrom,

monitoring the course and velocity of the object as it is being launched and emerges from the tube,

and comparing the course and velocity of the emerging object with the stored predetermined information and selectively applying lateral thrusts to the object while the same is emerging from the submarine to cause the same to assume the predetermined course.

2. The method of launching an object according to claim 1,

measuring the force and direction of the hydrodynamic lines of flow of water past the launch tube,

and comparing such measurement information with said predetermined information.

3. The method of launching an object according to claim 1,

measuring the angular displacements of the object as it moves through the launch tube,

and selectively applying lateral thrusts to the object as it moves through the tube to reduce the angular displacements of the object.

4. A method of controlling the course and exit velocity (Ve) of an object expelled from the launch tube of a maneuvering submersible vessel comprising I the steps of determining the desired velocity and launch pattern associated with an acceptable pattern of course, velocity and displacement that the object is intended to take during expulsion from the launch tube,

relating the linear and angular motions to known or measurable parameters, the parameters being:

So is the vessel speed at the moment of launch;

Do is the vessel depth;

A is the angle between the longitudinal axis of the launching tube and the centerline of the vessel;

Z is the list or instantaneous roll position;

P is the pitch of the vessel;

P is the pitch rate;

B0 is the instantaneous turnrate of the vessel;

Z is the roll velocity;

SS is the wave velocity characteristically associated with a specific sea state, and applying lateral thrusts to the object while the same is under the influence of the vessel to cause the same to assume its acceptable pattern of course.

5. A method according to claim 4, increasing the exit velocity by a factor proportional to AR, where AR isthe increment of the range to be added to the maximum range capability of the object itself.

6. A method according to claim 4 wherein the listedparameters form the equation:

and where the constants c, through c, are determined on the basis of the configuration of a specific vessel.

7. In the method of compensating for internal and external torques acting on an object expelled along a path from a launch tube of a submarine by the selective application of fluid pressure through a series of ports arranged along the path of movement of the expelling object comprising the steps of,

entering information of the submarine velocity, and course, velocity and displacement of the object during the launch into a computer previously programmed with information of a desired pattern of course, velocity and displacement that the object is to take after expulsion from the launch tube,

comparing the entered information with the previously programmed information,

and selectively operating certain of the ports to apply fluid pressure to the object as the same moves along its path so as to exert countering torques on the object by the application of pressurized fluid through the selected ports.

8. The method of compensating for undesired forces applied to an object during its expulsion from a launch tube having a series of selectively operated ports applying fluid pressure transverse to the direction of expulsion of the object, the method comprising monitoring pressure changes exerted on the walls of the launch tube during the expulsion of the object,

entering the pressure change information into a computer previously programmed with information of a desired pattern of course, velocity and displacement that the object is to take during expulsion, comparing the entered pressure change information with the previously programmed information, and selectively operating certain of said ports to cause fluid pressure to be applied transversely to the object as it is being expelled to exert a torque on the object countering the undesired forces.

UNITED STATES. PATENT ()FFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION at nt o- 3 ,807 .274 v i r Dated April .3 1

Inventor(s) COHEN It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent arefhereby corrected as shown below:


Claim 4, Line 17, change "P" to --1- Claim 4, Line 18, change -"BQ" to "430-- Claim 4, Line ;-l9. change "Z" to --i-- Claim 6, Line '3, change "0 2" to -c 5-- Signed and sealed this 27th day of August 1974'.

{SEAL} Attest:

MCCOY M. GIBSONQ'JR. C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents UNITED STATES. PATENT ()FFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION at nt o- 3 ,807 .274 v i r Dated April .3 1

Inventor(s) COHEN It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent arefhereby corrected as shown below:


Claim 4, Line 17, change "P" to --1- Claim 4, Line 18, change -"BQ" to "430-- Claim 4, Line ;-l9. change "Z" to --i-- Claim 6, Line '3, change "0 2" to -c 5-- Signed and sealed this 27th day of August 1974'.

{SEAL} Attest:

MCCOY M. GIBSONQ'JR. C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents m UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3, 07,274 I r Dated April 30, 1974 lnven fl PAUL COHEN It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby correcte as shown below:

Claim 6, Line 3., change "0 2" to c E- Signed and sealed this 27th day of August 1974.

[SEAL] Attest:


Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer

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U.S. Classification89/1.81, 114/238, 89/8
International ClassificationF41G3/12, F41F3/00, F41G3/00, F41F3/10
Cooperative ClassificationF41G3/12, F41F3/10
European ClassificationF41F3/10, F41G3/12