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Publication numberUS3811379 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 21, 1974
Filing dateJun 23, 1972
Priority dateJun 23, 1972
Publication numberUS 3811379 A, US 3811379A, US-A-3811379, US3811379 A, US3811379A
InventorsA Sondheimer
Original AssigneeUs Navy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Encapsulated torpedo mine weapon system
US 3811379 A
An underwater weapons system having an encapsulated torpedo and an anchor assembly which may be planted in the water by a submarine, aircraft, or surface ship. Shortly after water-entry the anchor separates, leaving the encapsulated torpedo vertically moored at a predetermined depth. Detection equipment on the casing listens passively for a target, and upon target detection, an active transducer is activated to classify the potential target. Upon classification, the casing opens, releasing and activating a homing torpedo having self-contained target-seeking capabilities.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Minted States Patent 1191 1111 3,811,379 Sondheimer May 21, 1974 ENCAPSULATED TORPEDO MINE 3,010,416 11/1961 Mueller 114/23 WEAPON SYSTEM 3,033,146 5/1962 Hawks 114/23 3,039,391 6/1962 Lofthus r. 102/13 5] I to Allen J- sondhelmer, Chevy Chase, 3,109,370 11/1963 Elmer et a1. 102/14 Prima ExaminerRobert F. Stahl [73] Ass1gnee. The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Attorney Agent, or Firm-R. S. Sc1asc1a; J. A. Cooke; Navy, Washington, DC. McGlehan [22] Filed: June 23, 1972 5 PP 265,936 An underwater weapons system having an encapsulated torpedo and an anchor assembly which may be 52 U.S. c1 102/13, 102/14, 114/20 Planted? the Water by a Submarine aircraft 51 1m. (:1 B63f 3/02 face shortly after waer'entry anchm [58] Field 61 Search 102/2, 7, 10, 13, 14, 18, rates dleavmg if Z l moore at a etermme ept etectlon equlpment on the casmg hstens passwely for a target, and detection an active transducer is acti- [56] References Clted upon target vated to class1fy the potentlal target. Upon c1ass1fica- UNITED STATES PATENTS tion, the casing opens, releasing and activating a hom- 1,588,932 6/1926 B1811 02/10 UX torpedo having selflcontained target-seeking capa- 3,295.411 1/1967 Lehmann [02/14 X bilities 2.967.502 H1961 Hammond..... 2997.970 8/1961 Dickieson 114/23 11 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures WATER DEPTHS EXCEEDING MAX. CASE DEPTHS PATENYEDIH I an 3811.379

SHEET 3 BF 3 FIG. 3.

ENCAPSULATED TORPEDO MINE WEAPON SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to underwater weapons systems such as mines and torpedoes, and more particularly to a system that can detect and classify an underwater target and release a homing torpedo that seeks the target. The desirability of such a system lies in its ability to clandestinely detect, classify and destroy targets in a much larger portion of a body of water than can a conventional mine or torpedo.

Mines have been traditionally used to protect harbors, beaches and shipping lanes from attack by enemy submarines and ships. The theory is that the friendly forces know where the mines had been planted and can therefore avoid them, but the enemy forces do not have this knowledge. Because present day mines are activated to detonate by pressure variations caused by the hull of a passing ship, by changes in the surrounding magnetic field. and by short range acoustical detecting means, they have a limited range of effectiveness. Consequently, numerous mines must be layed, constituting a mine field or a row where enemy ships or submarines are likely to pass to strike or come within the short effective detection and kill range of at least one mine. The remaining mines may be wasted and mines the expended mine must be replenished.

Torpedoes and depth charges are traditionally for overt attacks on enemy ships and submarines. The torpedoes used may be of the homing type or preset to run on a predetermined course and depth to intersect the enemy target. They must be launched from nearby aircraft, ships, and submarines, and much effort is required to find or lay-in-wait for a potential target.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a mine system having a greater range ofsurveillence and influence than conventional mines.

Another object of the instant invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system that detects and seeks out a target.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system that can lay-in-wait for considerable periods of time.

A still further object of the instant invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system capable of detecting and classifying an underwater target.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system using a modern homing torpedo encapsulated for protection when anchored for long periods of time.

A still further object of the instant invention is to provide an underwater weapon system requiring fewer mines per area to maintain the equivalent threat of conventional mining. less logistic support, less time and manpower to plant a field, and therefore less cost as a weapons system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system that discriminates against random surface traffic in preference to submerged submarine traffic.

A final object of the instant invention is to provide a torpedo-mine system having an anchor system that moors the torpedo-mine at a certain depth regardless of bottom depth.

Briefly these and other objects of the present invention are attained by the system using an encapsulated homing torpedo, the capsule or case being anchored by a cable or fine wire at a predetermined maximum depth and having acoustical detecting and classifying equipment for discriminating against surface targets for submerged targets. When the target is classified as a submerged man-made one, the capsule opens to permit a homing torpedo to escape, seek and attack a target.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A more complete understanding of the invention and many of the attendant advantages thereto will be readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view showing the deployment sequence of the torpedo-mine system;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the detecting, classifying, and torpedo releasing operational sequence; and

FIG. 3 is a pictorial diagram of the anchor cable pay out system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing, in FIG. 1 there is shown pictorially a cross-section of the sea 10 wherein an aircraft 12, a ship 14, and a submarine 16 are shown deploying a torpedo-mine system 18. The system is shown at the deployment position A as having initially separated into components comprising a casing 20, and an anchor 24 attached by an anchor cable 22 having an initial preset length of about 25feet. The torpedo-mine system continues its descent to a shallow bottom mooring approximately 1,000 feet at B, where the anchor cable remains at a fixed length or to a deep bottom mooring at C where the anchor cable 22 has been payed out so the casing 20 is at substantially the same depth from the surface as in the shallow bottom moor at B.

For deep moors as at C, where the bottom exceeds the maximum depth desired for the case 20, controlled pay out of cable 22 is performed by the system shown in FIG. 2 to keep the case at a depth of approximately 1,000 feet. As shown in FIG. 3, the system on the anchor 24 comprises a plurality of hydrostatic switches 70, connected to an electrically operated brake 72, a sensor 74, circumscribing the cable 22, and a source of power 76. The anchor cable 22 is shown connected to and wound on a spool 78 having flanges 80. Adjacent to one of the flanges 80 is the brake 72 for stopping rotation of the spool. At points 25 feet aparton the cable 22, are markers 82 su h asmag netized portions, metal bands, cable clamps, or the like. Of course, anchor cable 22 may be of any suitable material, such as fine wire. From considerations of strength and compact packaging requirements, a fine line of high-strength, monofilament material would be preferable.

As previously described, if the sea bottom is more than 1,000 feet below the surface, additional anchor cable will be payed out to maintain the case 20 at the l,000 foot level. This is accomplished by the plurality hydrostatic switches 70, having rupture discs or pistons each of which are designed to operate at 1,000 feet,

plus foot increments between each of the plurality. When the anchor 24 is pulled down below 1,000 feet, a hydrostat 70 is actuated, releasing spool brake 72 to pay out 25 feet of anchor cable 22. When a marker 80 passes the sensor 74, the brake is reapplied to stop paying out cable. If the anchor does not yet touch bottom. the anchor 24 will sink deeper causing the next hydrostat to be actuated to release an additional 25 feet of cable. The cable will again stop by application of the brake when the next marker is sensed. This sequence continues until the anchor 24 reaches the bottom, leaving the case 20 vertically moored at a depth of somewhat more than 1,000 feet.

Referring now to FIG. 2 there is shown generally a block diagram of the operational components, indicating the sequence of events for finally releasing a homing torpedo 30. As shown schematically, the detection equipment, power supply, torpedo release mechanism, and other associated system operational components are house in the encapsulating casing. The torpedo is completely self-contained with the casing providing the ideal storage environment for long-term underwater deployment until target detection and torpedo launch.

After the encapsulated torpedo-mine system 18 has been deployed and anchored, a safing and arming mechanism 32 containing an arming bar 34, such as, for example a hydrostat switch, starts a delay timing device 36. After a suitable delay to allow the deployment vehicle to leave, a power supply 38 is turned on, supplying power to a passive transducer 40 and a programmer 42. The passive transducer 40, such as a hydrophone, beings listening for a potential target and when one is detected and after determining that it is a manmade noise signal, sends a signal to a signal response actuator 44 which actuates the programmer 42. Programmer 42 sends a signal to a coder 46 which, if it is satisfied that the target is real and not random environmental noise. turns on an active transducer 48. Transducer 48 then begins pinging, i.e., transmitting a beamed acoustic sonar signal in a low trajectory to discriminate against surface traffic and concentrate on submerged traffic. During the quiescent state, between pings, the active transducer listens for a return echo from a target. When a return is received, the signal is set to a decoder 50. This decoder is essentially a frequency band attenuating filter which discriminates against acoustical returns from random sea surface and environmental noise and passing surface traffic. In other words it determines if it is a submerged man made target. When a submerged target produces a return echo, detected by the active transducer 48, the decoder 50 passes the signal to a range and size gate 52 preset to a maximum torpedo acquisition range and a minimum size return echo signal. If the echo is strong enough, indicating a real man-made target rather than marine life and within the preset range, it is therefor classified as a target and the signal is accepted and passed on to the programmer 42, already activated by the passive transducer 40 and the associated signal response actuator 44. The programmer 42 produces a commond signal and directs it to the torpedo release system 54, where the signal causes flooding valve 56 to open thereby causing the casing 20 around the torpedo to fill with sea water. A hydrostat sensor 58 detects the presence of sea water at pressure and causes a lock release mechanism 60 to open the casing 20. The torpedo 30 is now free to swim out of the casing 20 as its sea water battery floods to energize the propulsion system and the homing system. The self-contained torpedo then independently searches for the underwater target, and when acquired, automatically steers itself to intersect and kill the target.

Obviously, numerous modification 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.

What is claimed as new and secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. A torpedo-mine system capable of detecting and classifying an underwater target and releasing a torpedo to home in on the target comprising:

a homing torpedo;

a sealed and openable casing encapsulating said torpedo;

an anchor assembly adapted to moor said casing at a predetermined depth;

an acoustic detection system independent of said torpedo provided in said casing for detecting signals from a potential underwater target;

a signal processor system independent of said torpedo providing in said casing and responsive to said acoustic detection system adapted to classify a signal as a potential underwater target and to release said torpedo; and

means responsive to said signal processor system for opening said casing to release said torpedo.

2. The torpedo-mine system of claim 1 further comprising a safing and arming mechanism including an arming device and a delay timing device responsive to said arming device,

whereby upon lapse of a predetermined time after deployment said timing device turns on an independent power supply to activate the acoustic detection and signal processor systems.

3. The torpedo-mine system of claim 2 wherein said acoustic detection system comprises:

a passive omnidirectional transducer activated after system deployment to listen for and determine a potential target signal and an active transducer responsive to said passive transducer adapted to emit and receive sonar signals in detecting a potential target.

4. The torpedo-mine system of claim 3 wherein said active transducer has a beamed transmission and reception pattern to discriminate against surface targets and concentrate on submerged targets.

5. The torpedo-mine system of claim 4 wherein said signal processor system includes signal logic control means to regulate the processing of signals from said passive and said active transducers.

6. The torpedo-mine system of claim 5 wherein said signal processor system further includes signal evaluation means responsive to said passive transducer to filter out random environmental noise and to activate said active transducer only when the detected signal is a possible potential target.

7. The torpedo-mine system of claim 6 wherein said signal processor system further comprises:

a frequency band filter for attenuating signals from random environmental and surface noise signals controllably released therefrom; and control means for releasing said line in sequential increments to moor said casing at a predetermined depth from the water surface. 10. The torpedo-mine system of claim 9 wherein said control means for paying out cable comprises:

a plurality of hydrostatically actuated devices preset to operate in stepped increments of water depth. 11. The torpedo-mine system of claim 10 wherein said anchor line is a fine monofilament high-strength line.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4395952 *Dec 4, 1980Aug 2, 1983Hickey Christopher D DUnderwater weapon systems
US5076170 *May 18, 1977Dec 31, 1991The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyUnderwater weapon dispenser
US5214618 *Jul 1, 1992May 25, 1993Diehl Gmbh & Co.Method and arrangement for combating a submerged target object
US5831206 *Jul 2, 1997Nov 3, 1998The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyRing vortex depth charge
US6220168 *May 4, 1999Apr 24, 2001The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyUnderwater intelligence gathering weapon system
US7392733 *Sep 20, 2004Jul 1, 2008The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyHigh resolution projectile based targeting system
US8161899 *Sep 11, 2008Apr 24, 2012The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyMultiple torpedo mine
US8355295 *Aug 19, 2010Jan 15, 2013The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyUnderwater mobile sensing/communications node and network of such nodes
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U.S. Classification102/413, 367/131, 367/133, 102/414, 114/20.1
International ClassificationF41F3/10, B63G6/00, F42B22/12, F41G7/22
Cooperative ClassificationF42B22/12, F41F3/10, F41G7/228, B63G6/00
European ClassificationF41G7/22O1, B63G6/00, F41F3/10, F42B22/12