Hydroplaning unmanned surface vehicle
An unmanned hydroplaning water surface vehicle having a gondola housing with external midway lift and control foils that allow the unmanned surface vehicle to provide lift and control in water at sufficient speed. A superstructure trimaran hull serves as a stable operation platform during low speed maneuvers or at rest. The superstructure hull encloses command and control systems capable of remote, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous control and navigation and vehicle attitude control. A plurality of mission specific payloads and sensors are positioned within the superstructure hull and gondola housing to allow for various types of missions. A strut connects the gondola housing and the superstructure hull above the waterline, as well as to provide for the passage therebetween of a plurality of transmission and control lines. The strut also mounts a rudder above propeller at the stern end of the gondola housing.
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The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without payment of any royalties thereon or therefore.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to unmanned vehicles, and more particularly to unmanned surface vehicles (USV) designed for use in rough or calm bodies of water.
Unmanned air, ground and underwater vehicles have been developed that perform numerous tasks and have proven extremely useful. However, USVs have not been developed to the same extent.
Littoral areas of operation may be denied, inaccessible or too hazardous to operate in with manned ships. Properly designed USVs could make these areas accessible for operation. No multimission USV has been developed that can operate for extended periods of time, in different sea conditions with numerous types of payloads and sensors. The applicants have developed a novel USV system that has the built in flexibility to perform multiple missions for extended periods of time such as mine countermeasure, anti-submarine warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An unmanned hydroplaning water surface vehicle having a gondola housing with external lift foils located midway between bow and stern ends and control foils that allow the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) to plane in water at sufficient speed. A superstructure trimaran hull serves as a stable operation platform during low speed maneuvers or at rest. The superstructure hull includes command and control systems that make the USV capable of remote, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous operations. A plurality of mission specific payloads and sensors are dispersed in the superstructure and gondola to allow for various types of missions. A strut connects the gondola housing and the superstructure hull as sections of the vehicle, as well as provide for the passage of a plurality of transmission and control lines between such sections. A rudder is mounted on the strut at the stern end of the gondola housing above a propeller associated with its propulsion system.
For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other and further objects thereof, reference is made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and its scope will be pointed out in the appended claims.
Referring now to the example of
The gondola housing 102 preferably includes a ducted propeller 108 and a pair of the mid lift foils 104 and a pair of the aft lift foils 106. A propulsion motor 110, diagrammed in
As shown in
As illustrated in the example of
As shown in the example of
The superstructure hull 122 houses most of the command, control and communication systems for the USV 100. The superstructure hull 122 includes cabinets 134 and 136 for electronic equipment and various types of sensors (including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance or ISR sensors). A cabinet 138 for communications as shown in the example of
In operation the USV 100 would be assigned to perform one of its primary missions such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasure (MCM) or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Insertion into areas where there is threat of nuclear, biological or chemical agents is even possible. The USV 100 would be able to remain at a location for up to several weeks without resupply as it utilizes conventional power sources instead of mission limiting power supplies such as batteries.
The USV 100 could perform either alone or as part of a squadron of the USVs 100 to accomplish the missions identified. As part of a squadron the USVs 100 would be able to rapidly deploy at speeds up to 35 knots and patrol in a grid over a large area. Then the USV 100 could deploy a plurality of smaller unmanned undersea vehicles (USVs) from the payload bays 130 and 132 to provide extensive coverage within the grid. The USV 100 would then serve as a tender and communications hub for the USVs to collate data and transmit information to a central location for processing the data from the squadron. Additionally, it would be possible to have the USVs determine various courses of action such as mine or submarine neutralization independently or to wait for instructions. By operating in this manner the USV 100 could clear an area of threats prior to manned ships transiting the area.
While there have been described what are believed to be the preferred embodiments of the present invention, those skilled in the art will recognize that other and further changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention, and it is intended to claim all such changes and modifications that fall within the true scope of the invention.
1. An unmanned water surface vehicle comprising: a gondola housing section having bow and stern ends with external foils located midway between the bow and stern ends to provide lift in water at sufficient speed, said gondola housing section mounting a propulsion system at the stern end; a superstructure hull located entirely above a waterline and a strut connecting said gondola housing section to said superstructure hull completely above the waterline.
2. An unmanned water surface vehicle as defined in claim 1, wherein said strut mounts a rudder above the stern end of the gondola housing section and the propulsion system.
3. An unmanned water surface vehicle comprising:
- a gondola housing having external foils spaced from a stern end thereof to provide lift in water at sufficient speed, a propulsion system at said stern end,
- a superstructure hull adapted to float on the water at sub foil lifting speeds, means for connecting said gondola housing and said superstructure housing hull; and a rudder mounted on said connecting means above the propulsion system at the stern end.
4. An unmanned water surface vehicle as defined in claim 3, wherein said means for connecting said gondola housing and said superstructure hull comprises: a faired strut.
5. The water surface vehicle as defined in claim 3, wherein said means for connecting the gondola housing and the superstructure hull comprises: a strut extending between forward and aft ends of the vehicle in underlying relation to the hull; and said propulsion system including: a propulsion motor mounted within the gondola housing adjacent said stern end thereof; and a propeller connected to the propulsion motor positioned in rearwardly spaced relation to said aft end of the vehicle at which the rudder is mounted.
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|5503100||April 2, 1996||Shaw|
|5544607||August 13, 1996||Rorabaugh et al.|
|6269763||August 7, 2001||Woodland|
|6409122||June 25, 2002||Nicolai|
|6567044||May 20, 2003||Carroll|
- Helmut H. Portmann, et al., Unmanned Surface Vehicles: Past, Present, and Future, “Unmanned Systems,” Sep./Oct. 2002, pp. 32-37.
Filed: Jul 10, 2003
Date of Patent: Oct 3, 2006
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy (Washington, DC)
Inventors: David A. Newborn (Boca Raton, FL), Richard K. Knutson (Germantown, MD), Stephen P. Ebner (Wheaton, MD)
Primary Examiner: M. Clement
Attorney: Steven W. Crabb
Application Number: 10/617,445
International Classification: B63B 1/00 (20060101);