US20100313741A1 - Applications of directional ammunition discharged from a low velocity cannon - Google Patents

Applications of directional ammunition discharged from a low velocity cannon Download PDF

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US20100313741A1
US20100313741A1 US12660087 US66008710A US2010313741A1 US 20100313741 A1 US20100313741 A1 US 20100313741A1 US 12660087 US12660087 US 12660087 US 66008710 A US66008710 A US 66008710A US 2010313741 A1 US2010313741 A1 US 2010313741A1
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projectile
cannon
piece
directional
ammunition
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US12660087
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Vladimir Smogitel
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Vladimir Smogitel
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F42AMMUNITION; BLASTING
    • F42CAMMUNITION FUZES; ARMING OR SAFETY MEANS THEREFOR
    • F42C19/00Details of fuzes
    • F42C19/08Primers; Detonators
    • F42C19/095Arrangements of a multiplicity of primers or detonators, dispersed around a warhead, one of the primers or detonators being selected for directional detonation effects
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F42AMMUNITION; BLASTING
    • F42BEXPLOSIVE CHARGES, e.g. FOR BLASTING, FIREWORKS, AMMUNITION
    • F42B12/00Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material
    • F42B12/02Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect
    • F42B12/20Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type
    • F42B12/201Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type characterised by target class
    • F42B12/205Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type characterised by target class for attacking aerial targets
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F42AMMUNITION; BLASTING
    • F42BEXPLOSIVE CHARGES, e.g. FOR BLASTING, FIREWORKS, AMMUNITION
    • F42B12/00Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material
    • F42B12/02Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect
    • F42B12/20Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type
    • F42B12/22Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type with fragmentation-hull construction
    • F42B12/32Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect of high-explosive type with fragmentation-hull construction the hull or case comprising a plurality of discrete bodies, e.g. steel balls, embedded therein or disposed around the explosive charge
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F42AMMUNITION; BLASTING
    • F42BEXPLOSIVE CHARGES, e.g. FOR BLASTING, FIREWORKS, AMMUNITION
    • F42B12/00Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material
    • F42B12/02Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect
    • F42B12/36Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect for dispensing materials; for producing chemical or physical reaction; for signalling ; for transmitting information
    • F42B12/56Projectiles, missiles or mines characterised by the warhead, the intended effect, or the material characterised by the warhead or the intended effect for dispensing materials; for producing chemical or physical reaction; for signalling ; for transmitting information for dispensing discrete solid bodies

Abstract

A method for destruction of hostile projectiles and a design of a low velocity cannon firing projectiles that contain directional ammunition. The method includes: firing from a low velocity cannon at least one projectile containing directional ammunition and detonating this directional ammunition at the optimal distance away from the target.

Description

  • This patent application claims the benefit of provisional patent application 61/268,726 filed on Jun. 16, 2009.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates generally to projectiles, specifically to projectiles carrying directional ammunition, and to application of low velocity cannons. The present invention also relates to close-range counter-missile systems.
  • 2. Prior Art
  • Numerous systems have been developed or under development for protection of vehicles against hostile guided missiles. Many different navies possess fairly efficient active counter missile systems that defeat incoming anti-ship missiles by a super-high rate of small to medium caliber fire in either a pure kinetic mode or with assistance of high explosives. Unfortunately, this method is not applicable to defense of aircraft due to excessive weight of modern automatic cannons and relative instability of all modern aircraft, this instability complicating the targeting process. Most modern aircraft anti-missile defense systems are passive in nature—they rely upon maneuvering of the aircraft and deployment of decoys. However, as anti-aircraft missiles are becoming smarter and more agile these defense strategies are becoming obsolete.
  • A review of the existing counter missile systems clearly indicate the lack of any lightweight and cost effective active counter-missile systems. The development of efficient counter missile systems is essential for protection of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and fixed wing aircraft operating against a sophisticated enemy air defense system. To a lesser degree even ground based combat vehicle rely upon passive measures like armor and decoys to defeat anti-tank missiles. A low cost, efficient active anti-missile system is still needed on the modern battlefield.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • An objective of the present invention is to provide a novel close range/extreme close range lightweight weapons system capable to destroy enemy personnel and incoming hostile projectiles. The integral part of this weapons system is a low velocity cannon discharging directional projectiles. In this patent application a “low velocity cannon” is a projectile discharging cannon operating at barrel pressures significantly lower than barrel pressure of a standard firearm. The novel methods incorporated into this design are simple and effective means to detonate directional projectiles at the correct distance away from the target thus taking full advantage of the directional ammunition stored inside each directional projectile. A number of methods to maintain correct orientation of the projectiles, i.e. business end towards enemy, are also discussed later in this patent application. A relatively big kill-zone generated by detonation of directional ammunition eliminates the need for precise targeting. Also, application of directional ammunition allows safe usage of this weapons system at close distance to the target, since all of the shrapnel travels only towards the target.
  • This weapons system will be particularly useful under all circumstances where each ounce of extra weight has critical importance. An example of such circumstances would be deployment of this weapon system onboard an aircraft that require protection from incoming hostile projectiles, most likely air or ground launched anti-aircraft missiles. This aircraft can be a fixed wing jet, a helicopter, or an unmanned aerial vehicle. An unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with an efficient counter-missile weapons system can be effectively used in air combat against enemy aircraft.
  • Another advantage of this weapon system is its expected low cost. The system consists of readily available components that already exist in the market place and can be easily put together to make a reliable weapons system. Last but not least, this weapons system can be easily customized to effectively counter a given specific threat. The components comprising this weapons system can be easily replaced to modify weapons parameters. For instance fire-control electronics can be connected to the target tracker of the user's choice. By the same token, the same fire control electronics can be easily used on any low-velocity cannon, provided the user updates the new cannon's parameters stored in the memory of the fire-control electronics.
  • The basic components comprising this weapons system are the following: directional ammunition, lightweight projectiles which act as carriers for directional ammunition, low velocity cannon, at least one device insuring detonation of directional ammunition at the right distance away either from the target or from the cannon, target tracker and/or distance measurement device, a fire-control electronic circuit either pre-setting weapons system parameters prior to projectile firing or issuing “detonate ammunition” command after the projectile has been fired.
  • Directional ammunition is readily available and its design parameters are already well known. Two examples of directional ammunition are directional claymore mines and case/canister shots. A case/canister shot is in essence a single shot shotgun firing pellets forward. Both of these types of ammunition can be easily designed to generate a stream of pellets of required shape. For case/canister shot the shape of the canister defines the dispersion pattern of shrapnel; for claymore mine the dispersion pattern is defined by the curvature of the shape of the mine.
  • The projectiles themselves are just lightweight shells housing directional ammunition, detonators, and devices required for detonation of the enclosed ammunition at the right moment. The projectiles might contain internal holding brackets required to secure the above-mentioned components in place. The projectiles need to show acceptable stability in fight therefore they need to be properly shaped and weight balanced. A spherical shape can be used or fins and winglets can be attached to the exterior of projectiles to guarantee acceptable stability in flight. A projectile carrying directional ammunition needs to be properly oriented “face towards enemy” at the moment of detonation. An aerodynamically correct projectile shape can be used to ensure that the projectile will not tumble in flight and will face the enemy missile with its business end. An alternative method is to use a spherical projectile connected to the cannon with a section of wire of correct length: tension pull of this stretched wire will correctly orient the projectile at the last moment before detonation. Other methods to detonate projectiles are discussed in the “detailed description” section of the current specification. These projectiles can be discharged from both smoothbore and rifled firing tubes.
  • The projectiles storing directional ammunition are discharged from a low velocity cannon operating at internal pressure levels significantly lower than pressure levels imposed on projectiles inside conventional firearms. In order to be able to withstand high levels of pressure firearm projectiles, barrels, and other components are made from strong and heavy materials. Unfortunately, this requires increased weight of the entire weapons system. The advantage of the proposed weapons system is its lightness: a discharged projectile does not need to have enough kinetic energy to destroy the target. Once the projectile has been delivered close enough to the target the shrapnel will receive its kinetic energy from the explosion inside the projectile. Numerous types of low velocity cannons are available for the user of this system: a recoilless rifle or a rocket assisted grenade launcher can easily be used along with one of many spud gun designs currently popular with hobbyists.
  • Once the distance to the target has been correctly estimated the projectile has to either be pre-programmed to explode at a certain moment after firing or it has to be detonated after firing via an external command. It will be up to the user to select the most appropriate method of projectile detonation out of all methods presented in this patent application. The preferred method may be detonating the projectile through tension force of a wire connecting the projectile itself to the cannon. Another advantage of this method is that the projectile gets correctly oriented in space prior to detonation by the same tension force.
  • Multitude of various radar-, laser-, and infrared sensor based distance estimators and trackers are available for any potential user. If this weapons system is used on any combat platform, it can be easily integrated with the combat platform's distance estimators/target trackers and the on-board computer. For a stand alone weapons system a separate distance estimator/target tracker is required. Once information on distance to target becomes available, a simple electronic circuit will be required to track this parameter (and possibly other parameters) and fire the cannon once the target gets in range. The user can also choose to control this weapons system via a digital computer running software of any level of complexity.
  • An array of low velocity cannons connected to target tracker(s) and controlled electronically can be used for protection of aircraft, ground vehicles, and fixed installations from hostile projectiles.
  • A novel part of this weapons system is also suggested methods to aim at a low-velocity cannon at a fast moving target. Aiming of a fixed cannon can be achieved by maneuvering a craft that carries this weapons system. A slow moving craft can also be protected by placing arrays of firing tubes around the craft and firing only one of these arrays closest to the target. This patent application also sugstem with existing components onboard modern fighting vehicles.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • This invention is further described in the following drawings:
  • Drawing 1—an engagement of a hostile missile where 1 is the friendly aircraft, 2 is the low-velocity cannon mounted on a friendly aircraft, 3 is the wire connecting the counter-missile projectile to the aircraft, 4 is the projectile discharged from the low-velocity cannon, 5 is the kill zone saturated with shrapnel, 6 is the hostile missile, said hostile missile positioned within the kill zone,
  • Drawing 2—illustrates that a low-velocity cannon having 2 diverging barrels creates a combined kill zone Dtotal much greater in size than a kill zone d1 created by a single directional projectile.
  • Drawing 3—two examples of projectiles carrying directional ammunition where 1 is the wire connecting the cannon to the safety pin, 2 is the droplet shaped projectile with winglets, 3 is the safety pin, 4 is the detonator attached to the canister shot, 5 is the explosives inside the canister shot, 6 is the shrapnel compartment of the canister shot, 7 is the wire connecting the cannon to the safety pin inside a spherical projectile, 8 is the safety pin, 9 is the detonator of the directional claymore mine, 10 is the directional claymore mine stored inside the spherical projectile, 11 are two kill zones generated by either type of directional ammunition.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Let me examine a couple of applications of a given weapons system. One of such applications would be destruction of a fast moving projectile/missile closing in on a friendly aircraft equipped with this weapons system. One of the novel ideas behind this weapons system is to take a relatively inaccurate weapon discharging slow moving counter-projectiles and destroy a fast moving target, preferably with one shot.
  • Since most anti-aircraft missiles are equipped with remote fuses the most important parameter to consider is the range of the missile's warhead. It is possible for the missile's fuse to be triggered by the explosion of the counter-projectile. Therefore the missile needs to be intercepted at the minimum distance “D-minimum” where its explosion is harmless to the aircraft. Of course, the missile can be intercepted at greater distances as well. This parameter “D-minimum” will define characteristics of the cannon—at all altitudes where the threat is likely to be faced by the aircraft the cannon should be able to deliver a projectile close to the incoming missile along predictable trajectory within a reasonable amount of time. The altitude of engagement is important, since thinner air will offer less resistance to a relatively large projectile. Although a low velocity cannon will not be able to discharge a projectile at a high speed, the effective speed of the projectile will be the sum of its speed and the speed of the aircraft trying to move away from the incoming missile, assuming the back hemisphere of the aircraft will be under attack. The first parameter that the users of this method have to consider is the maximum desirable distance, which may be greater than “D-minimum”, of missile intercept for a given velocity of the aircraft.
  • Once this parameter has been finalized, an appropriate cannon can be selected. Obviously, the lightest possible cannon will be chosen for the job. A recoilless rifle or rocket propelled grenade launcher on board an aircraft will be undesirable due to generated flame/back blast. Modern day spud gunners use variety of low velocity cannons using either combustion of gaseous fuel or compressed gas pressure to propel projectiles. A cannon operated by compressed gas pressure seems the most desirable element of this weapons system for the following reason: (a) safety, since there will be no gaseous fuel on board the aircraft; (b) power, since compressed gas cannons generate more power than combustion based low velocity cannons. Compressed gas low velocity cannon offers another advantage—the power of the discharge blast can be easily regulated via controlling pressure inside the firing chamber via remote control valves. Also, an electronically controlled valve connecting the firing chamber to the firing tube may allow multiple shots fired from the same cannon without re-pressurizing the firing chamber. In other words, a longer burst from a lower pressure chamber can be used as opposed to a short burst of compressed gas from a high pressure chamber. Alternatively, multiple pressure chambers can be connected to one firing tube/projectile storage clip assembly. This arrangement will allow rapid firing of multiple projectiles from the same firing tube. After every shot a new projectile will be loaded into the firing tube and a new fully pressurized chamber will be selected for the next discharge. The chamber just used will be quickly re-pressurized while other chambers are being used for firing projectiles. There is another point that the user of this weapons system may find useful: the aircraft carrying this weapons system may already have a tank of pressurized gas to power its own pneumatic devices. If so, the cannon can be integrated into the pneumatic system of the aircraft saving the effort of attaching an extra tank of compressed gas to the cannon.
  • Modern day compressed gas cannons routinely hurl projectiles for hundreds of yards within seconds. This distance combined with the distance traveled by even a slow moving UAV or helicopter should be sufficient to intercept any incoming missile at the safe distance “D-minimum” or even at much greater distances. The firing tube of a compressed gas cannon can be made either out of plastic or thin metal thus making the cannon itself very light. The first design conflict that the user has to resolve is the one between the power of the cannon and the weight and size of the cannon and projectiles. The size of the cannon is very important since the length of the firing tube is directly proportional to the initial velocity of a discharged projectile and therefore to the effective range of the cannon.
  • According to this method the pilot of the protected aircraft should become an integral part of the cannon targeting. In other words once the incoming missile has been detected the pilot has to perform a maneuver that will ideally make both the aircraft and the missile move in one line. Ideally, at the end of this maneuver the cannon affixed to the aircraft should be pointed directly at the incoming missile. The pilot's task should be made easier by the fact that most self-guiding missiles are designed to approach the aircraft along the shortest trajectory. A special display may show the pilot the relative positions of the aircraft and the missile in real time, thus helping the pilot to gauge the progress of the maneuver. This approach appears counter-intuitive since nowadays pilots are trained to perform evasive maneuvers once a hostile missile has been detected. However, an airplane equipped with counter-missile cannon just needs to lure the incoming missile in the cannon's range for missile's destruction.
  • Once the maneuver has been completed the cannon will fire at least one projectile at the missile. Once the projectile reaches a pre-determined point directional ammunition on board the projectile will detonate creating an approximately conical kill zone with its base turned towards the incoming missile. The kill zone effectiveness is defined by 2 parameters: size and saturation with shrapnel. The size of the kill zone is also defined by 2 parameters: the area of the base of the conical kill (“lateral” dimension of the kill zone) zone and the length of the conical kill zone (“longitudinal” dimension of the kill zone). The designed “lateral” dimension of the kill zone should be defined by the accuracy of the cannon—i.e. the incoming missile has to be inside the kill zone for the worst probable accuracy of the cannon. Assuming cannon characteristics are known, the most important factors affecting accuracy are stability of the airplane during cannon firing and the type of maneuver being performed by the aircraft during cannon firing. The type of maneuver executed by the pilot will be defined partially by the direction from which the threat is coming. For instance, if a low flying aircraft comes under attack from ground launched missile the pilot may not have enough time to complete all necessary maneuvering that will bring the aircraft in line with the missile's trajectory. Under these circumstances the user may require a weapons system that will be able to destroy the incoming missile while the aircraft is performing a 3D movement relative to the incoming missile. Obviously, the movement of the aircraft will affect the initial velocity of the discharged projectile and therefore the accuracy and aerodynamic characteristics of this weapons system. It is up to the user to calculate inaccuracy of the cannon for all likely engagements and compensate for this inaccuracy with the size of the kill zone.
  • The shape of directional ammunition generally defines the “lateral” dimension of the generated kill zone. Case/canister shots and directional claymore mines have been around for a long time and it should be trivial to design a piece of ammunition that will generate lateral dispersion of shrapnel within required conical shape. However, there may be a conflict between the size of ammunition required to generate a kill zone of required size and the caliber of the low velocity cannon. Also, a bigger projectile will have to overcome greater resistance of air and may be moving too slow for the given power of the cannon. The following methods are suggested to help user generate a required kill zone with relatively small projectiles: (a) a cannon able to fire multiple projectiles in rapid succession from the same firing tube; (b) a cannon firing multiple projectiles from the same firing tube with one shot; (c) several projectiles fired from different firing tubes at the same time; (d) a combination of the above-mentioned methods.
  • A cannon firing multiple projectiles should be easy to build. As long as firing tube/projectile clip assembly is airtight the clip can be separated from the firing tube with partially closed spring-loaded plates. After every shot either electrical solenoids or pneumatic device will retract the plates and a new projectile will be pushed into the firing tube by the clip spring. The whole firing tube assembly can be made as one airtight piece and the projectiles will be loaded into the clip on the ground.
  • A sabot full of smaller projectiles can be loaded into the firing tube. Upon firing the projectiles will start diverging in flight and after detonation a cluster of possibly overlapping kill zones will be generated.
  • A better dispersion can be achieved by an array of firing tubes. The angle between longitudinal axes of the firing tubes, the number and positioning of the tubes, and the design of each individual projectile will define the size of total kill zone. The whole assembly may be powered by one pressure chamber connected to all firing tubes at the same time.
  • Firing tubes can be located further apart from each other. If each firing tube will be aimed at the target and all firing tubes are used at the same time the target will likely end up in the area where individual kill zones overlap. If not, the target is likely to end up in a single non-overlapping kill zone. All of these methods can be combined together any way the user desires—for instance, the clip attached to the firing tube may be loaded with sabots full of projectiles as opposed to projectiles themselves. Last but not least—the user may choose to load single counter-missile projectile with more than one piece of directional ammunition, said pieces being positioned at an angle to each other and projecting multiple kill zones from one projectile. A variation of this approach will be using a cluster projectile containing smaller projectiles, each smaller projectile firing its own directional/omni-directional ammunition once appropriate projectile dispersion has been achieved.
  • The longitudinal dimension of the kill zone is defined by the power of explosives of directional ammunition. Effective longitudinal dimension of the kill zone is the area of the kill zone where shrapnel elements stay close enough together to guarantee a hit of the incoming missile that enters the kill zone. Just like the cannon has to be powerful enough to intercept a missile at the farthest probable distance, the kill zone has to be saturated with shrapnel well enough to destroy the smallest probable threat. The task of missile destruction is facilitated by the forward motion of the missile thus magnifying the velocity of the impact between the missile and a piece of shrapnel. Shrapnel elements made out of lightweight plastic should be sufficient for this task thus making the ammunition relatively light. Also, shrapnel can be loaded into the ammunition in multiple layers to ensure a rough checkerboard pattern of the kill zone. One more point—if the counter missile projectile is detonated off-center of the incoming missile then the whole side of the missile becomes vulnerable to the shrapnel.
  • Once the size of the kill zone has been established counter-missile projectile(s) needs to be detonated at the right moment after having been fired from the low-velocity cannon. Obviously, at the moment of the projectile's detonation the missile has to be close enough to the projectile to end up in the effective kill zone. A couple of approaches can be used to achieve this task. All possible methods can be generally broken into 2 categories: the projectile can be detonated via an external command or the projectile's detonation parameters can be set prior to firing of the projectile. There is another method to achieve correct detonation—making the projectiles themselves “smart” and putting all necessary target trackers and electronic decision makers onboard each projectile. However, this method does not seem cost effective since all smart gear will be lost after explosion of each projectile.
  • Detonating the counter-missile projectile via an external command may offer better accuracy but will probably be more complicated and more expensive. Both the incoming missile and the counter-missile projectile need to be tracked and the “detonate” command needs to be generated by a dedicated electronic circuit or by a digital computer running software designed for this task. If a wireless method to transfer “detonate” command is chosen, the projectile will have to carry at least one command detector and extra hardware to convert the command into an actual explosion. A better way to detonate a projectile via an external command will probably be sending an electric pulse to the projectile via a trailing wire. The task of tracking the projectile may be facilitated by placing a beacon on board the projectile.
  • At this point it would be appropriate to mention another technical problem: at the moment of detonation the projectile carrying directional ammunition needs to be turned to the incoming missile with its business end. Assuming the counter-missile projectile is fired from a smoothbore firing tube, the task of keeping the projectile correctly oriented can be solved by giving the projectile an appropriate aerodynamic shape and attaching to the projectile winglets, fins, or other devices ensuring projectile's stability in flight. Spin stabilized projectiles can be used as well, however light plastic is unlikely to survive the pressures generated by the spinning motion of the projectile inside the firing tube. This problem can be fixed by enclosing the projectile into a metal jacket and inserting a metal liner inside the firing tube. This design change will increase the weight of the weapons system and will effectively decrease the power of the discharge since the projectile will have to overcome much higher friction forces while traveling inside the firing tube.
  • Assuming the incoming missile is moving at a steady speed along well predicted trajectory and assuming consistent performance of this weapons system, the projectile can be pre-set to explode at a certain distance away from the aircraft or after a certain period of time following the projectile's discharge from the firing tube. The easiest to build detonation system is a spherical projectile connected to the cannon with a lightweight wire. The wire can be wound on a spool to prevent wrapping of loose wire around the projectile in flight—the length of loose wire following the projectile will be equal to the distance from the projectile to the cannon. The length of the wire will be the distance away from the aircraft at which the wire becomes stretched. The tension force of stretched wire will correctly orient the projectile (which can be made spherical in shape) and will initiate a train if events leading to the projectile's detonation, like pulling out a safety pin. The length of the wire may have to be adjusted for the speed of the aircraft and the incoming missile to ensure that at the moment of detonation the projectile is located at a pre-determined distance away from the aircraft and at the optimal distance away from the incoming missile. A combination of 2 spinning spools, spool stoppers, and remotely controlled motors can easily make the length of the wire that can be stretched easily adjustable in either way, i.e. longer or shorter. If the length of the wire needs to be adjusted only in one direction, a single motor driven spool will suffice. The advantages of such an arrangement are the following: high reliability (since the detonation system is purely mechanical), low cost, ease of implementation. Light nylon threads or other lightweight material can be used to make the wire connecting each projectile to the cannon. If the cannon is designed to fire multiple projectiles attached to the firing tube via a clip, every projectile needs to either be connected to a separate spool arrangement or an extra mechanical device is required to connect every new projectile to the single wire/spool combination. The wire detonation system can be simplified if the length of the wire is fixed. The drawback of this arrangement is that if the first missile intercept fails, there will be no way to reprogram the next projectile and intercept the missile closer to the aircraft.
  • Alternatively, each projectile can be detonated by a command from an on-board timer. Once a projectile is loaded into the cannon it will be connected to the aircraft with a short stretch of conducting wire. This wire will be used to program the timer on board the projectile prior to firing. Once the projectile leaves the barrel the tension force of this wire will activate the timer and the projectile will be detonated when the pre-defined time period expires. The same stretch of conducting wire can also be used to recharge projectile's battery needed to set off an electric blasting cap.
  • The decision to fire a counter-missile projectile can be made either by the pilot of the aircraft, an autonomous electronic circuit, or a combination of both. A display showing the position of the incoming missile relative to the aircraft can also show in real time locations of the kill zone(s). Once the incoming missile gets close enough to the cannon's range the pilot can activate an electronic firing circuit that will fire the cannon. If the missile has been detected while outside the cannon's range, and if a targeting maneuver has been successfully completed by the pilot the electronic circuit should make relatively simple calculations to decide when to discharge a counter-missile projectile. Assuming both the missile and the aircraft move at a constant speed along the same flat straight trajectory, the physics of the problem becomes trivial. The aircraft can be considered to be relatively motionless in the coordinate system centered around the aircraft itself. In this coordinate system the missile will be approaching the aircraft along a straight line, the missile's relative velocity equal to its real velocity minus the real velocity of the aircraft. The electronic firing circuit should have access to the cannon's parameters and it should know how much time it takes a counter-missile projectile to reach the cannon's maximum range. Since the incoming missile's position and velocity are consistently being tracked, the time of the cannon's firing becomes the time it takes the missile to enter the cannon's range, counting from now, minus the time it takes a counter-missile projectile to reach the maximum range.
  • Granted, the calculations will be more complicated if the missile and the aircraft are involves in maneuvering relative to the ground and relative to each other. For instance, if the angle of attack of the aircraft is not zero, the relative wind will affect the trajectory of a fired slow-moving projectile. The cannon firing circuit, therefore, has to have access to all aircraft parameters, missile tracker, and valves connecting the firing tube to pressure chambers, if a compressed gas cannon is used. However, these calculations should be easy to accomplish provided all necessary information is available to correctly model the physics of the engagement. Once the first projectile or a batch of projectiles has been fired at the missile, an assumption has to be made that follow up shots may be required. For a counter-projectile detonated by a wire it means that the length of the wire for the next available projectile needs to be consistently adjusted under an assumption that the missile has not been defeated yet. This continuous adjustment will minimize the time required to perform the second shot from the cannon. Ideally, the missile will have to be engaged at a maximum possible distance to allow follow up shots from the cannon or an arrangement of cannons. Instead of mounting a separate tracking device on the cannon, this weapons system can be integrated with the aircraft avionics and use the aircraft radar to track the incoming missile or, if needed, discharged counter-missile projectiles.
  • Although the targeting of the cannon is mainly performed by the pilot of the aircraft the user may find it useful to mount the cannon on a targeting platform. Such a platform may be able to adjust the cannon's elevation only. Also, the targeting platform may be able to move the cannon only in pre-set positions as opposed to allowing the user continuous movement. An advantage of such an arrangement is that the same cannon can be rapidly moved to a new position and defeat a threat coming from a totally different direction. For instance, a helicopter pilot flying his craft close to the ground may choose to make the cannon point downwards to be ready for an RPG attack coming from the ground. A targeting platform capable of continuous adjustment of the cannon's position can also be used for fine tuning of the targeting process.
  • A low velocity cannon discharging directional ammunition can be used on the ground as well. The same methods to ensure proper detonation of projectiles can be used for all ground applications. Arrays of diverging short firing tubes, similar to smoke grenade launchers can be positioned around an armored vehicle for defense against anti-tank projectiles. Alternatively, existing smoke grenade launchers can be easily modified for firing directional ammunition projectiles as opposed to smoke grenades For simplicity sake this system can be designed to intercept incoming projectiles at fixed distance away from the vehicle. This will mean that each firing tube will be loaded by a projectile connected to the vehicle with a wire of fixed length. Once a hostile projectile has been detected one of the arrays of firing tubes will be fired and the missile will be intercepted at the distance equal to the length of the wire connecting projectiles to the vehicle. Diverging firing tubes will create excellent dispersion of the projectiles. Since most modern armored vehicles carry sophisticated sensors, application of directional ammunition will ensure that the vehicle's equipment or friendly troops will not be damaged by “friendly fire.” Obviously, the user can choose omni-directional ammunition as well. If compressed gas discharge system is selected, all arrays of firing tubes can be integrated with the vehicle's pneumatic system, just like it was suggested for application onboard an aircraft. Incoming missile detection can be easily achieved by attaching at least one heat sensor to every array of firing tubes—the heat sensor collecting most IR radiation will be the heat sensor closest to the incoming missile and associated low velocity cannon(s) will be fired once the missile gets close enough to the vehicle. Range estimation based on the heat signature of an incoming missile/rocket propelled grenade should be trivial to achieve.
  • Low velocity cannons can also be used for defense of any fixed installation. The overall lightweight of these cannons makes them easy to move and aim. If mounted on targeting platforms and if connected to a tank of compressed air with flexible conduits, the firing tubes can be aimed by relatively low-power motors within fractions of a second. Of course, the cannons need to be integrated with hostile projectile detectors and necessary electronic estimators/fire controllers.

Claims (12)

  1. 1. A method for protecting a second location from a first projectile fired from a first location at the second location, the method comprising: (a) firing at least one second projectile towards the first projectile from a low velocity cannon, said low velocity cannon discharging projectiles at a velocity substantially lower than a velocity of a projectile being discharged from a firearm of a similar caliber; (b) detonating at least one piece of directional ammunition enclosed within said second projectile; (c) destroying or damaging the first projectile with shrapnel pieces generated after detonation of said at least one piece of directional ammunition.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, further comprising tracking the first projectile.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, wherein a plurality of second projectiles being fired at the first projectile.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein said second location being defined as an airborne vehicle carrying at least one low velocity cannon, the method further comprising performing at least one maneuver by said airborne vehicle carrying at least one low velocity cannon, the purpose of said maneuver being to aim said at least one low velocity cannon at said first projectile.
  5. 5. The method of claim 4, further comprising detonating said at least one piece of directional ammunition via tension force of at least one piece of wire, said at least one piece of wire connecting said at least one second projectile either to said low velocity cannon or to said airborne vehicle.
  6. 6. A counter-projectile weapons system comprising: (a) a low velocity cannon, said low velocity cannon comprising at least one firing tube, said at least one firing tube being substantially lighter than a firing tube of a firearm of a similar caliber; (b) at least one projectile being able to be discharged from said low velocity cannon, said at least one projectile containing at least one piece of directional ammunition; (c) at least one detonator incorporated into said at least one piece of directional ammunition; (d) a signal receiver incorporated into said at least one projectile, said signal receiver being able to initiate detonation of said at least one piece of directional ammunition after receiving an appropriate signal.
  7. 7. The counter-projectile weapons system of claim 6, further comprising: (a) a tracker being able to track an incoming projectile; (b) an array of electronic circuits being able to receive data from said tracker and being able to automatically fire said low velocity cannon.
  8. 8. The counter-projectile weapons system of claim 6, wherein said detonator being connected to either said low velocity cannon or any other structure with at least one piece of wire, the tension force of said at least one piece of wire acting as said appropriate signal when said at least one piece of wire becomes fully stretched.
  9. 9. The counter-projectile weapons system of claim 8, further comprising a mechanism controlling the length of said at least one piece of wire.
  10. 10. A method for protecting a ground combat vehicle from a hostile missile, the method comprising:(a) detecting and tracking said incoming hostile missile; (b) firing at least one projectile from at least one smoke grenade launcher, said at least one smoke grenade launcher being mounted on said ground combat vehicle; (c) detonating at least one piece of directional ammunition enclosed within said at least one projectile; (d) destroying or damaging said hostile missile via action of shrapnel being discharged by said at least one piece of directional ammunition.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10, wherein said at least one piece of directional ammunition being detonated via tension force of at least one piece of wire, said at least one piece of wire connecting said projectile either to said at least one smoke grenade launcher or to said ground combat vehicle
  12. 12. The method of claim 10, further comprising detecting said hostile missile via an array of heat sensors, each of said heat sensors being located closer to a separate said smoke grenade launcher than to any other smoke grenade launcher mounted on said ground combat vehicle.
US12660087 2009-06-16 2010-02-19 Applications of directional ammunition discharged from a low velocity cannon Abandoned US20100313741A1 (en)

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Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20120152102A1 (en) * 2010-01-21 2012-06-21 Jack Joseph Tawil System for Protecting Surfaces against Explosions
US9036942B1 (en) * 2013-01-16 2015-05-19 The United States Of America, As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Link between handheld device and projectile
US9170070B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2015-10-27 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for active protection from aerial threats
US9501055B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2016-11-22 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for engagement management of aerial threats
US9551552B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2017-01-24 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for aerial interception of aerial threats

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4127243A (en) * 1976-04-02 1978-11-28 Aktiebolaget Bofors Device for a missile or the like
US4522356A (en) * 1973-11-12 1985-06-11 General Dynamics, Pomona Division Multiple target seeking clustered munition and system
US6889935B2 (en) * 2000-05-25 2005-05-10 Metal Storm Limited Directional control of missiles

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4522356A (en) * 1973-11-12 1985-06-11 General Dynamics, Pomona Division Multiple target seeking clustered munition and system
US4127243A (en) * 1976-04-02 1978-11-28 Aktiebolaget Bofors Device for a missile or the like
US6889935B2 (en) * 2000-05-25 2005-05-10 Metal Storm Limited Directional control of missiles

Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20120152102A1 (en) * 2010-01-21 2012-06-21 Jack Joseph Tawil System for Protecting Surfaces against Explosions
US8490538B2 (en) * 2010-01-21 2013-07-23 Jack Joseph Tawil System for protecting surfaces against explosions
US9170070B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2015-10-27 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for active protection from aerial threats
US9501055B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2016-11-22 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for engagement management of aerial threats
US9551552B2 (en) 2012-03-02 2017-01-24 Orbital Atk, Inc. Methods and apparatuses for aerial interception of aerial threats
US9036942B1 (en) * 2013-01-16 2015-05-19 The United States Of America, As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Link between handheld device and projectile

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