Modular, Deployable Weapon System Mount

- OMNITEK PARTNERS LLC

A mount for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position is provided. The mount including a mechanism having an attachment to the weapon system and a base having an attachment to a portion of the defended position. The mechanism further having; a first actuator for moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position; and a second actuator for moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window. The defended position can be a ship in which case the window can be an opening in a hull of the ship.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/109,152 filed on Oct. 28, 2008, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to weapon system mounts, and more particularly, to methods modular, deployable weapon system mounts.

2. Prior Art

In the art of weapon system mounts, there is a need for a commander to project a graduated response to a perceived threat in relatively close-quarters. Of particular concern are harbors, passageways, and near-shore locations where smaller vessels, such as disguised commercial and pleasure craft, can pose a threat.

The primary technical challenges to this problem are driven by the required location of the weapon system on the vessel, namely the deployment through a window in the ship's hull at a mooring station. This requirement has two main repercussions: First, the weapon system must be projected through a window approximately one meter high by two meters wide, which can be comparable to the outside dimensions of the weapon system to be used. Second, the deployable weapon system in its entirety must be modular to allow for traditional mooring station activities to commence unobstructed.

In addition to the logistic and operational motivation behind moving the deployable weapon system away from the mooring station window, there is considerable strategic advantage gained by the commander's option to conceal, display, or deploy such a system in a given situation. For this reason, it is speculated as highly desirable that a system be provided which, when installed at the mooring station window in its ready-to-deploy configuration, be hidden from outside view, or at least partially hidden or obstructed to minimize the ability of an outsider to correctly identify the system. With this in mind, a system which meets all requirements for rigidity, compactness, speed of installation, etc. and additionally is hidden from view when positioned at the mooring station ready to be remotely deployed and controlled is highly desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a mount for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position is provided. The mount comprising: a mechanism having means for attachment to the weapon system and a base for attachment to a portion of the defended position, the mechanism further having; first actuation means for moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position; and second actuation means for moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window.

The defended position can be a ship in which case the window can be an opening in a hull of the ship.

The first actuation means can be a rotational actuation means or a translational actuation means.

The stowed position can maintain the weapon system toward the base so as to not extend into the window.

The at least one intermediate position can maintain the weapon so as to be capable of being fired through the window from inside an interior of the defended position.

The at least one intermediate position can comprise two or more intermediate positions. The two or more intermediate positions utilize actuation means residing on the weapon system.

The second actuation means can further comprise a look-down actuator for directing the weapon system in the same direction as the base once fully deployed and projected from the window.

The second actuation means can be a translational actuation means.

Also provided is a method for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position. The method comprising: attaching the weapon system to a mount; attaching a base of the mount to a portion of the defended position; moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position using only a first motion; and moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window using only a second motion.

The first motion can be a rotational motion or a translational motion.

The stowed position can comprise maintaining the weapon system toward the base so as to not extend into the window.

The at least one intermediate position can comprise maintaining the weapon so as to be capable of being fired through the window from inside an interior of the defended position.

The at least one intermediate position can comprise two or more intermediate positions. The two or more intermediate positions can utilize actuation means residing on the weapon system.

The method can further comprise directing the weapon system in the same direction as the base once fully deployed and projected from the window.

The second motion can be a translational motion.

Still further provided is a mount for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position. The mount comprising: a mechanism having an attachment to the weapon system and a base having an attachment to a portion of the defended position, the mechanism further having; a first actuator for moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position; and a second actuator for moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the apparatus and methods of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of a weapon system mount with attached weapon system in which the weapon is in a stowed configuration.

FIG. 2 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 1 in which the weapon is in an intermediate configuration.

FIG. 3 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 1 in which the weapon is in a deployed configuration.

FIG. 4 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 1 in which the weapon is in the deployed configuration and illustrating a look-down capability.

FIG. 5 illustrates a second embodiment of a weapon system mount with attached weapon system in which the weapon is in a stowed configuration.

FIG. 6 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 5 in which the weapon is in an intermediate configuration.

FIG. 7 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 5 in which the weapon is in a deployed configuration.

FIG. 8 illustrates a third embodiment of a weapon system mount with attached weapon system in which the weapon is in a stowed configuration.

FIG. 9 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a first intermediate configuration.

FIG. 10 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a second intermediate configuration.

FIG. 11 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a third intermediate configuration.

FIG. 12 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a fourth intermediate configuration.

FIG. 13 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a fifth intermediate configuration.

FIG. 14 illustrates the weapon system mount and attached weapon of FIG. 8 in which the weapon is in a deployed configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present disclosure illustrates various embodiments for a modular, deployable weapon system mount for use with a weapon system. Each of the embodiments introduced require only two deployment motions to position the weapon through a mooring station window in a ship's hull to adequately project the weapon system outside the ship's hull. This aspect of the embodiments allows for a highly rigid deployed platform and for robust and reliable deployment motion. A common aspect of the embodiments is the ability to install the total weapon deployment system at the mooring station such that the weapon system is hidden from view completely below the mooring station window. From this configuration the weapon system may be deployed and controlled remotely, giving the operator an array of strategic advantages in the graduated response to potential threats in friendly or hostile waters. In addition to the compactness and robustness of the embodiments, each can equal the rigidity of a similar deck-mounted weapon, ensuring no net decrease in accuracy. Finally, with respect to the modularity of the system, the presented embodiments address the need for very safe and efficient transport and installation of the system even in rough seas.

When designing a deployment system there are three major design areas which must be addressed: The system in its pre-deployment configuration, the mechanics of deploying the system to its desired position, and the rigidity of the system in its deployed state. Likewise, the modularity requirement contains another set of considerations: the compactness of the stored configuration, the speed and ease with which the system is transported and installed, and the rigidity of the installation itself. These requirements are, of course, coupled and overlapping in a total system design. The general approach to these six design considerations is described below.

The Pre-Deployment Configuration of Deployable Systems

Generally, the pre-deployment configuration of a deployable system is constrained by the available footprint or envelope available. Additionally, as discussed above, it is highly desirable that the weapon be hidden from view or sufficiently disguised as to prevent its detection by outsiders when in the ready-to-deploy configuration at the mooring station window. This design area is, of course, linked to its upstream and downstream configurations (stowed and deployed), but is not constrained to be identical to either.

The Mechanics of Deployment

The nature of deployable systems allows for the mechanical requirements of deployment to be decoupled from the mechanical requirements of the deployed configuration. When done properly, the design of deployment systems for applications such as weapons systems, this decoupling of requirements can be used to great advantage. Because the deployment mechanism must only exhibit very high rigidity in its deployed configuration, the actuation elements which deploy the weapon may be designed such that their actuation directions do not coincide with the load path of the system in its deployed configuration. Alternately, if the preceding approach is not practicable, the actuators may be designed such that when in the deployed configuration the mechanism is in some locked or otherwise mechanically constrained position. Any design of a two-position deployment mechanism which employs complicated feedback and control systems or requires significant power to maintain the deployed configuration should be looked upon with great skepticism but should instead involve a minimum number of different motions to achieve the desired positioning of the weapon system.

The Deployed Configuration of a Deployable System

A compact, efficient, and elegant deployment mechanism will be utterly worthless if it is incapable of rigidly supporting the weapon system at the required positions outside the mooring station window. For this reason, the embodiments disclosed herein produce a deployed rigidity matching that of the weapon system when bolted to the deck of a ship. Adhering to this standard will ensure that the accuracy of the weapon system is maintained relative to a more traditional application.

The Storage Configuration of a Modular System

Much like the pre-deployment configuration of a deployable system, the storage configuration of a modular system is driven by the available geometry of the storage location. In the present designs which are very rigid when deployed, and quickly transported and installed, will benefit from additional stored compactness away from the mooring station.

The Transport of a Modular System

Modular systems for machinery in factory settings must be designed such that the systems are safe and easy to transport. An unwieldy machine on wheels is a waste of manpower and a recipe for disaster. This problem is greatly magnified in a ship at sea. The embodiments disclosed herein focus on the ability for two sailors to safely and quickly locate and install the deployable weapon system in the mooring station.

The Installation of a Modular System

In addition to the requirements of rigidity stemming from the need to support the weapon outside the mooring station window while maintaining accuracy, the installation of the system should be quick, safe, and immune to the effects of exposure to the environment. Of particular concern are the mechanical interlocking of the system to the ship's hull, and the power and communications hook-ups from the ship to the system.

The weapon systems discussed below may be passed through the mooring station window in its three primary orthogonal orientations using only two deployment motions. This is especially important because the particular arrangement of components on the weapon system may necessitate a particular orientation in which the weapon must pass through the mooring station window. It should also be noted that the illustrations of the weapon system mounts disclosed herein are schematic. The aspects and geometry of the deployment mechanism components have been simplified to maximize the clarity of the designs. The details of the actuators for accomplishing the disclosed motions are well known in the art and are not discussed herein. Inspection of the arrangement of components in the conceptual renderings reveals that there is ample space to provide machine elements of sufficient rigidity to support the weapon when projecting outside the hull of the ship while maintaining weapon accuracy.

First Embodiment

As shown below in FIGS. 1-4, a weapon system mount according to a first embodiment includes a mechanism 100 capable of passing a weapon system 102 through a window 104 in a hull 106 of a ship with the ‘z’ axis being vertical, and the ‘x’ axis pointing to the outside of the ship. The hull 106 is shown in a cut-away portion. Although, the weapon system mounts disclosed herein are described with regard to a hull of a ship, they are equally applicable to other vehicles, vessels or ground stations.

The weapon system 102 is installed at a pre-deployment configuration in FIG. 1 in which the weapon system is oriented vertically and below the window 104. Upon actuation of the deployment mechanism, the weapon system rotates to an intermediate position as shown in FIG. 2. Such intermediate position only requires a rotation of the deployment mechanism 100 about axis A by any actuation means know in the art, such as a shaft and appropriate actuator (not shown). From the intermediate position shown in FIG. 2, the mechanism 100 translates forward and out of the window 104 to the deployed position shown in FIG. 3, where it is fully deployed and ready for operation. The translation of the weapon system is accomplished by any actuation means known in the art, such as rails or slide 108 and an appropriate actuator (not shown). The mechanism 100 of the first embodiment employs only two additional motions to the weapon system, one rotary, and one linear. It should be noted that the mechanism 100 of the first embodiment permits the weapon system to theoretically be operational at the intermediate position shown in FIG. 2 which allows for operation in a semi-concealed position, albeit with a limited range of motion.

Additionally, as shown in FIG. 4, the end of the linear slide 108 which projects the weapon system through the window 104 can contain a “look-down” rotational joint 110 to rotate the weapon system 102 about axis B by any actuation means know in the art, such as a shaft and appropriate actuator (not shown). This joint provides increased range of elevation movement. This addition is seen as particularly useful in addressing threats which are very near the vessel.

Second Embodiment

As shown in FIGS. 5-7, a weapon system mount according to a second embodiment includes a mechanism 200 also capable of passing a weapon system 102 through a window 104 in a hull 106 of a ship with the ‘z’ axis being vertical, and the ‘x’ axis pointing to the outside of the ship.

The weapon system 102 is shown installed at a stowed position in FIG. 5 (in a pre-deployment configuration). Upon actuation of the deployment mechanism 200, the weapon system 102 moves to the intermediate position shown in FIG. 6 by a vertical translation of the weapon system 102 by any actuation means know in the art, such as rails or slides and appropriate actuator (not shown). From the intermediate position shown in FIG. 6, the mechanism 200 translates forward and out of the window to the deployed position shown in FIG. 7, where it is fully deployed and ready for operation. The translation of the weapon system 102 is accomplished by any actuation means known in the art, such as rails or slide 108 and an appropriate actuator (not shown) as discussed above with regard to the first embodiment. The mechanism 200 of the second embodiment employs only two additional motions to the weapon system, both linear. It should be noted that the mechanism 200 also allows the weapon system 102 to be theoretically operational at the intermediate Position 2 which allows for operation in a semi-concealed position, albeit with limited range of motion.

The mechanism 200 of the second embodiment can contain the same “look-down” joint 110 at the end of the linear slide 108 as discussed above with regard to the mechanism 100 of the first embodiment, to serve the same purpose, namely extending the negative elevation range of the deployed weapon system to address threats very near to the vessel.

The mechanism 200 of the second embodiment may provide a better storage configuration because of the low height and center of gravity of the weapon system 102 in the pre-deployment configuration. One particular advantage of mechanism 200 of the second embodiment is that the weapon is well-hidden from outside view in the pre-deployment configuration.

Third Embodiment

As shown in FIGS. 8-14, a weapon system mount according to a third embodiment includes a mechanism 300 also capable of passing a weapon system 102 through a window 104 in a hull 106 of a ship with the ‘z’ axis being vertical, and the ‘x’ axis pointing to the outside of the ship.

The weapon system 102 is installed at the position shown in FIG. 8 in the pre-deployment (stowed) configuration. Upon actuation of the deployment mechanism, the weapon system 102 moves to the position shown in FIG. 9, which only requires a vertical translation similar to that shown in FIG. 6 with regard to the second embodiment. At this stage, the weapon system 102 is reoriented to pass through the mooring station window 104. First, the weapon is rotated 90 degrees about axis C using an azimuth joint on the weapon system as shown in FIG. 10. Next, the weapon is rotated 90 degrees about axis D as shown in FIG. 11 using a “look-down” joint on the weapon system as described in the first and second embodiments. From this position, the mechanism translates the weapon system 102 forward on the rails or slide 108 and out of the window 102 to the position shown in FIG. 12. Finally, the weapon system 102 is reoriented to its fully deployed position by essentially undoing the intermediate rotational movements made before passing the weapon through the mooring station window 102 as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. It should be noted that the mechanism of the third embodiment, like the mechanisms of the second embodiment, employs only two additional motions to the weapon system 102, both linear. The use of the deployment mechanism's look-down joint and azimuth joint during deployment is a dual-use of these already existing/required degrees of freedom. Additionally, like the mechanism of the second embodiment, the mechanism of the third embodiment is both capable of firing from inside the ship, and is very well concealed behind the mooring station wall when in the ready-to-deploy configuration.

Fourth Embodiment

A fourth embodiment describe another orientation by which the weapon system may be passed through the mooring station window 102, namely with the ‘z’ axis vertical and the ‘y’ axis pointing to the outside of the ship. Such a motion can be the same as that of the mechanism of the third embodiment, with the omission of rotation of the “look-down” joint before and after passing the weapon through the mooring station window 102.

Thus, as described above, the weapon system 102 may be projected through the mooring station window 102 in any of its three orthogonal orientations.

Transporting the weapon system 102 from a storage location to the mooring station window 102 should be performed by two personnel, e.g., sailors, to quickly and safely position and install the deployment system at the mooring station window. Depending on the proximity of the storage location to the mooring station window 102, several options exist. The deployment system may be linearly or rotationally moved to a position near the window 102, leaving sufficient working area for traditional mooring station activities. This option is seen as especially rapid and safe, as the deployment system may be very easily constrained in its path and even given powered movement. Additionally, such an arrangement would allow for the power and communications interfaces to be more permanently connected to the machine. The deployment system may ride on a system of on-deck or overhead rails or tracks. This arrangement would allow for a deployment system to be stored in one particular location unique to and arbitrarily remote from an individual mooring station. Like the above example, this system is also amicable to the application of a powered drive system to speed and ease transport of the system.

The most freedom of storage and transport will, of course, come from a wheeled unit with complete freedom of motion. Such an arrangement will allow for the most storage options, and will allow a single system to be easily installed at any number of mooring stations. Given the anticipated weight and size of the weapon system, such a deployment system will benefit from having one or more wheel brakes, and possibly a drive motor, not dissimilar to traditional materials handling equipment. Accompanying the advantages of unconstrained movement however is a decrease in safety in the event of rough seas. This drawback may be addressed with special procedures and techniques for moving the machine in rough waters. For example, the route from the storage location to the mooring station window may be provided with lashing points and although slower, the system could be moved with safety by employing cables and brakes to ensure no loss of control during transport.

Securing the deployment system at the mooring station window will now be discussed. In the embodiments described above, the deployment system contacts only the deck of the mooring station. Such an approach will simplify the installation process while ensuring that no additional contact stress is seen by the outer hull of the ship. The actual interlocking of the deployment system to the deck of the mooring station is not seen as particularly technically challenging; any number of traditional methods may be used, such as bolting, clamping, or lashing. It is also envisioned that for transport methods which involve wheels on the device, those wheels would be refracted at the installation location and the interlocking method would be of a highly rigid structure-to-structure variety.

Power options for the deployment system will now be discussed. The required motions of the mechanisms described above may be powered by any number of traditional mechanical power sources such as an electric or hydraulic motor with gear reduction or a lead screw; or hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders. The power source may also be matched to the power source of the weapon system.

The “Look-Down” Joint has been discussed above with regard to each of the embodiments. Such look-down joint is a rotational joint at the end of the linear slide which projects the MK49 through the mooring station window. An illustration of the “Look-Down” joint rotated −90 degrees in the deployed configuration is shown in FIG. 4. This joint is provided to allow the weapon system to address potential threads very near to the window/ship. Additionally, in certain deployment concepts, the “Look-Down” joint can be used to maneuver the weapon through the mooring station window. Because of its requirements of operation, the “Look-Down” joint power and controls can mimic the constriction of the elevation joint on the weapon system.

While there has been shown and described what is considered to be preferred embodiments of the invention, it will, of course, be understood that various modifications and changes in form or detail could readily be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the invention be not limited to the exact forms described and illustrated, but should be constructed to cover all modifications that may fall within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims

1. A mount for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position, the mount comprising:

a mechanism having means for attachment to the weapon system and a base for attachment to a portion of the defended position, the mechanism further having; first actuation means for moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position; and second actuation means for moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window.

2. The mount of claim 1, wherein the defended position is a ship and the window is an opening in a hull of the ship.

3. The mount of claim 1, wherein the first actuation means is a rotational actuation means.

4. The mount of claim 1, wherein the first actuation means is a translational actuation means.

5. The mount of claim 1, wherein the stowed position maintains the weapon system toward the base so as to not extend into the window.

6. The mount of claim 1, wherein the at least one intermediate position maintains the weapon so as to be capable of being fired through the window from inside an interior of the defended position.

7. The mount of claim 1, wherein the at least one intermediate position comprises two or more intermediate positions.

8. The mount of claim 7, wherein the two or more intermediate positions utilize actuation means residing on the weapon system.

9. The mount of claim 1, wherein the second actuation means further comprises a look-down actuator for directing the weapon system in the same direction as the base once fully deployed and projected from the window.

10. The mount of claim 1, wherein the second actuation means is a translational actuation means.

11. A method for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position, the method comprising:

attaching the weapon system to a mount;
attaching a base of the mount to a portion of the defended position;
moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position using only a first motion; and
moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window using only a second motion.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the first motion is a rotational motion.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the first motion is a translational motion.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the stowed position comprises maintaining the weapon system toward the base so as to not extend into the window.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the at least one intermediate position comprises maintaining the weapon so as to be capable of being fired through the window from inside an interior of the defended position.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein the at least one intermediate position comprises two or more intermediate positions.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the two or more intermediate positions utilize actuation means residing on the weapon system.

18. The method of claim 11, further comprising directing the weapon system in the same direction as the base once fully deployed and projected from the window.

19. The method of claim 11, wherein the second motion is a translational motion.

20. A mount for deploying a weapon system through a window in a defended position, the mount comprising:

a mechanism having an attachment to the weapon system and a base having an attachment to a portion of the defended position, the mechanism further having;
a first actuator for moving the weapon system from a stowed position to at least one intermediate position; and
a second actuator for moving the weapon system from the at least one intermediate position to a deployed position projecting from the window.

Patent History

Publication number: 20100126338
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 28, 2009
Publication Date: May 27, 2010
Applicant: OMNITEK PARTNERS LLC (Bayshore, NY)
Inventors: Jahangir S. Rastegar (Stony Brook, NY), Richard T. Murray (Brentwood, NY)
Application Number: 12/607,322

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Bases (89/37.13); Training Mechanisms (89/41.01)
International Classification: F41A 27/00 (20060101);