Title:
LOW-MASS-TRIGGER CONTROLLED RELEASE OF PROJECTILES HAVING VARIABLE ENERGIES AND NUMBERS IN A CENTRIFUGAL PROPULSION WEAPON, AND METHODS OF WEAPON USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A weapon 1 peripherally discharging projectiles 2a-2n, normally ball bearings, at sustained high rates under centrifugal force preferably has two opposed members 11 each rotating within a housing, or guide track, 10. Each rotating member 11 preferably has at least two channels, or track, 16 with a radial component within which projectiles 2a-2n received near the center of rotation progress radially outwards until first escaping at 19, and then being ejected at X, under centrifugal force at the periphery of the at least one rotating member 11. A projectile release mechanism controls the timing, locations, and numbers of projectiles released per rotation of the at least one rotating member. This mechanism uses (1) opposed connected elongate members 13, substantially positioned along a radius line and within the at least one member 11 with its distal end protruding within the at least one channel 16 and with a proximal end cam follower 13 contacting the interior circumference 181 of (2) a ring cam 18, non-rotating to the housing 10 and movable between positions both coaxial, and displaced, to the rotational axis of the at least one rotating member 11. The elongate members 13 move (1) radially outward under centrifugal force of the rotation of the at least one rotating member 11 until its distal end protrudes within the at least one channel 16, therein obstructing passage of projectiles 2a-2n along the channel 16 and any ejection of these projectiles 2a-2n from the periphery of the at least one rotating member 11, until (2) the cam follower 14 of the elongate arm 13 contacts during rotation the cam 181 surface of the ring cam 18, pulling the elongate member 13 against centrifugal force radially inwards until its distal end ceases to protrude within the channel 16, losing passage of projectiles 2a-2n along the channel 16 for subsequent escape at 19 and for ejection at X.



Inventors:
St. George, Charles (Murfreesboro, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/475831
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
06/26/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B3/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090165766CABLE GUARD ELIMINATORJuly, 2009Evans
20100043766SAFETY DEVICE IN IMITATION GUNFebruary, 2010Iwasawa
20070051352Pulsaer airflow systemMarch, 2007Gierczak III
20040007224Brown's scope mount for archeryJanuary, 2004Boyce Jr.
20090159060PAINTBALL GUN WITH CONTROL SWITCHES ON THE GRIPJune, 2009Newman et al.
20050284456Adjustable paintball drop tubeDecember, 2005Chipley
20090211561Peep light releaseAugust, 2009Mcfatridge
20090277435Cocking Winch Apparatus For A Crossbow, Crossbow System Including The Cocking Winch Apparatus, And Method Of Using SameNovember, 2009Pestrue
20060260594Toy for launching a projectileNovember, 2006Andersen
20070209647Police vehicle chase dye dropSeptember, 2007Maccarty
20050178374Control device for a ball-hurling machineAugust, 2005Tseng



Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William, Fuess C. (Suite 2G, 109951 Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego, CA, 92121-1613, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. In a weapon for peripherally discharging projectiles under centrifugal force having a housing, or surround track, at least one member rotating within the housing, and at least one channel with a radial component within the at least one rotating member within which channel projectiles received near the center of rotation progress radially outwards until, escaping under centrifugal force at the periphery of the at least one rotating member, the projectiles are guided by the housing, or surround track, until finally being ejected from the weapon, an improved projectile release mechanism for controlling passage of projectiles along a channel, and thus an escape of one or more projectiles from the at least one rotating member, and thus the ejection of the one or more projectiles from the weapon, the projectile release mechanism comprising: one or more spring-loaded lever release mechanisms, each located in a cavity separate from the projectiles channel but each proximate to an outer end of an associated projectiles channel, each lever release mechanism having a catch resting against an associated sear of a selector mechanism so that, when triggered by movement of the selector mechanism and its sear, a spring-loaded arm does move within an associated channel sufficiently so as to controllably gate a passage of projectiles along this associated channel, and a progression towards the escape of the one or more projectiles from the at least one rotating member, and thus also a progression towards the ejection of the one or more projectiles from the weapon; a selector mechanism, positioned substantially concentric but slightly eccentric to the at least one rotating member and having one or more arms terminating in a sear that is within the cavity of, and that engages a spring-loaded lever release, or an associated spring-loaded lever release mechanism, the selector mechanism also having one or more cam followers engaging the inner circumference of a ring cam so that the slight eccentricity of the selector mechanism does cause with rotation of the ring cam that first one, and then a next, of the spring-loaded lever release mechanisms will be triggered, making that a succession or projectiles are gated from each channel, and from all channels, of the rotating member, and of the weapon; and a ring cam, stationary to the housing and with its center eccentrically displaced from a rotational axis of the at least one rotating member, having an interior circumferential cam surface that, when engaged and contacted during rotation by the cam followers of the selector member, the selector member will be caused to move in position so as to cause that first one, and then a next, of the spring-loaded lever release mechanisms will be triggered, making that a succession or projectiles are gated from each channel, and from all channels, of the rotating member, and of the weapon; wherein the movement of the slightly eccentric selector mechanism is but slight, and substantially balanced about the axis of rotation of the at least one rotating member, making both that (1) the coaction of the selector mechanism and the one or more spring-loaded release mechanisms can be very fast, and very many projectiles can be gated in their channels and ejected from the weapon per unit time, and (2) the weapon is substantially devoid of vibration during this gating and this ejection.

2. The weapon in accordance with claim 1 wherein the cam surface of the ring cam acts on the cam followers of the selector mechanism to gate via the spring-loaded lever release mechanism (1) the passage of exactly one projectile within a channel of the at least one rotating member, (2) the escape of this one projectile from the rotating member, and (3) the ejection of this one projectile from the weapon, per each rotation of the rotating member.

3. The weapon in accordance with claim 2 wherein a projectile escaping the at least one rotating member by action of the spring-loaded lever release mechanism contacts the housing, of guide track, while also contacting and abutting a next projectile within the channel, making that each spring-loaded release mechanism may cycle to its closed position obstructing progression of projectiles within the channel without obstructing or frictional contact with any projectiles

4. The weapon in accordance with claim 1 wherein the cam surface of the ring cam acts on the one or more cam followers of the selector mechanism so as to gate via the spring-loaded lever release mechanism (1) the passage of a plurality of projectiles within the channel of the at least one rotating member, (2) the escape of this plurality of projectiles from the rotating member, and (3) the ejection of this plurality of projectiles from the weapon, per each rotation of the rotating member.

5. The weapon in accordance with claim 1 wherein the at least one rotating member, the release mechanism with its cam followers, and the ring cam, are all substantially in the same plane.

6. The weapon according to claim 1 further comprising: an electric motor rotating the at least one rotating member

7. The weapon according to claim 6 further comprising: a control for the motor.

9. A method of gating a passage of projectiles within a channel within a rotating member of a weapon ejecting the projectiles by centrifugal force, the gating method directed to controlling the ejecting of the projectiles, the method comprising: substantially balancing a projectile trigger release mechanism in all its parts about an axis of rotation of the rotating member so that, during movement of parts of the projectile trigger release mechanism between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within a projectile channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed, and (2) a second position no longer obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and to subsequently be ejected from and by the weapon, minimum unbalanced inertial forces are experienced by heavier parts, and the gating action can correspondingly be very rapid, and the projectile ejection very fast.

10. The method according to claim 9 wherein projectile gating, and ejection, in excess of one projectile per second is enabled.

11. A method of gating a passage of projectiles within a channel within a rotating member of a weapon ejecting the projectiles by centrifugal force, the gating method directed to controlling the ejecting of the projectiles, the method comprising: substantially balancing a projectile trigger release mechanism in all its parts about an axis of rotation of the rotating member so that, during movement of parts of the projectile trigger release mechanism between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within a projectile channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed, and (2) a second position no longer obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and to subsequently be ejected from and by the weapon, minimum unbalanced inertial forces are experienced by heavier parts, and the vibration of the weapon is correspondingly low.

Description:

REFERENCE TO A RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/283,445 filed Nov. 17,2005, for TRIGGER CONTROLLED RELEASE OF CONTROLLED NUMBERS OF PROJECTILES AT EACH OF CONTROLLED NUMBER OF INSTANCES PER REVOLUTION to the selfsame inventor as is the present application.

The predecessor application claims benefit of priority of Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2004906627, filed Nov. 19, 2004, for a WEAPON USING CENTRIFUGAL PROPULSION FOR PROJECTILES also to the selfsame inventor as is the present patent application

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present and related inventions generally relate to automatic weapons using centrifugal force to propel projectiles, and methods of using such weapons.

The present invention particularly relates to (1) an improved projectile trigger and release mechanisms for rotating weapons propelling projectiles by centrifugal force, or “centrifugal guns”, and (2) methods of using “centrifugal guns”.

The present invention still more particularly relates to control of each of (1) the release of projectiles, (2) the numbers of projectiles released, and (3) the numbers of instances per revolution at which projectiles may selectively be released, in a rotating weapon propelling projectiles by centrifugal force.

2. Background of the Invention

2.1 A Specific Prior Patent

The present and related inventions are all related to the inventor's own prior invention of a Weapon for centrifugal propulsion of projectiles that is the subject of U.S. Pat. No. 6,520,169, issued Feb. 18, 2003.

That patent teaches a weapon for centrifugally discharging projectiles at a rapid rate having a housing in which is mounted a rotating disc having a multiplicity of feed channels extending radially therein. Each of the feed channels receives a number of projectiles and is configured to orient the projectiles in a single file adjacent the periphery of the rotating disc. The weapon of the present invention will likewise be seen to have (1) a housing, (2) one or more feed channels within a rotating disc or, in the present invention, one or more rotating arms.

In the previous device, and patent, a locking means consisting of a multiplicity of stops held the projectiles that were within each of the feed channels, selectively releasing the projectiles. Namely, each of the stops was movable between (1) a first position within the channel to preclude movement of the outermost projectile outwardly of the channel and (2) a second position removed from the channel to permit movement of a projectile within the channel. Locking cams served to move the stops between the first and second positions. Another cam actuated the locking cams as the disc was rotated in order to move the outermost stop into the second position so as to release the outermost projectile, the adjacent stop meanwhile restraining the adjacent projectile which is only thereafter released to move outwardly until restrained by the first stop. In this manner projectiles were “gated” for ejection,

The weapon of the related co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/283,446 was considerably changed in this area involving the selective release, or ejection, of the projectiles. The original locking means consisted of a number of stops that moved orthogonally to the plane of the rotating disc. In the related application this was entirely replaced by a new mechanism now called a “selector timer”, which mechanism operates entirely within the plane of the rotating disk (or rotating arm(s)). These “selector timers”, one for each channel, was operated by cams which are now robust in construction, and which were themselves again within the rotating plane of the disk (or arm(s)). Consonant with the fact that a “selector timer” mechanism may sound more sophisticated than does a “locking means”, or a reciprocating “stop”, the mechanism of the related patent application can be considered to be quite versatile, and precise, in controlling each, and any, of (1) the instances, (2) the numbers of instances, per revolution, and (3) the numbers of projectiles, that are selectively ejected by a rotating weapon propelling projectiles by centrifugal force.

The weapon of the present invention will be seen to be still further changed and improved in this area involving the selective release, or ejection, of the projectiles. In particular, the inertia masses of the reciprocating parts are both (1) reduced, and (2) balanced. In accordance that the weapon can be large, and is often mounted to a vehicle such as a U.S. military Humvee, the weapon improved in (1) mass and (2) mass balance will be seen to produce very little vibration or noise, especially considering the (1) tremendous quantities of projectiles (2) of considerable mass that the weapon (3) can launch at high rates of fire.

Finally, in the inventor's original weapon for centrifugal propulsion of projectiles the projectiles were selectively released into a guide rail extending substantially about the periphery of the disc, with this guide having a discharge opening therein. Such a guide existed in the weapon of the related patent application, and will be seen to still exist in the centrifugal propulsion weapon of the present invention.

2.2 General Background of the Invention

As explained in the related predecessor patent and patent application, a gradual evolution in small caliber weapons development has occurred over the last 20 years with the emphasis being towards high rates of fire, saturation fire in the general direction of the perceived enemy position and the ever increasing awareness of the need to ensure the weapon crew survivability during missions. Prolonged saturation fire exposes the weapon crew to return fire from the enemy who can detect the position from which fire is received.

Weapons that use centrifugal force instead of an explosive powder propellant for launching the projectiles have been known in the prior art. One type of centrifugally operated gun involves straight radially extending barrels such as those shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,472,080 to McNaier and U.S. Pat. No. 3,177,862 to Allemann. A limitation of such a construction is that the power required to rotate the radial barrel is too great to develop an economically feasible rapid fire weapon. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,177,862 to Allemann, radial gun barrels are incorporated within the helicopter blades which would slow down the speed of rotation of the blades due the absorption of energy by the projectile as the projectiles pass through the barrels.

Another type of centrifugal gun includes a gun barrel having an arcuate rather than a radial construction. Such construction has, however, limited the speed of the projectiles for various reasons including (1) rotation of the bullet in a direction reverse to travel direction of the projectile and (2) the provision of a peripheral barrier which prevents emission of the projectile at the precise moment that it achieves its maximum speed at the exit end of the barrel. Illustrative of such weapons are those of Brown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,240,815, of Blair in U.S. Pat. No. 1,284,999, of Parsons in U.S. Pat. No. 1,408,137 and of Baden-Powell in U.S. Pat. No. 1,662,629.

Associated with the foregoing type of gun has been the problem of overcoming the strong gyroscopic reaction force of a rotating impeller that resists turning and moving a gun when aiming in a plane that is not perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the impeller. One solution proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,613,655 to Tobin is to provide a first impeller which rotates clockwise to offset the second impeller which rotates counterclockwise and thereby nullify the gyroscopic reaction. Most prior art weapons have relied upon gravity feed of the projectiles through a hopper design with some form of screw device to aid projectile movement into desired channels or barrels. Such gravity feed loading systems are not able to feed the desired amount of projectiles in any centrifugal operated weapon at high speeds since the rotating member that provides the centrifugal force to propel the projectiles expels the projectiles much faster than any gravity feed loading system can supply. Thus, the rate of fire of these weapons is restricted by having the rate of fire controlled by gravity-fed loading systems.

2.4 Differences Between the Present and Previous, Gunpowder-based, Projectile Launching Systems That Present New Method of Use

It has become apparent in actual filed usage of weapons in accordance with the related patent and patent application that the weapon presents, and arguably even mandates, entirely new methods of use as sometimes support entirely new strategies of exerting military force.

The centrifugal guns of the present and related inventions can readily be fielded with literally millions of projectiles. Moreover, these projectiles can be released in controllably variable numbers, at controllably variable energies (i.e., velocities), and at controllably variable rates. Each of these factors is so controllably variable over a much broader range than is typical of conventional gunpowder-propelled projectiles.

Namely, projectiles will be seen to be controllably released, and if desired continuously released, from the centrifugal gun (1) in quantities ranging from one to millions, (2) at energies ranging continuously from a non-lethal “dribble” to those in excess of those produced by a high caliber ammunition round, and (3) at rates continuously ranging from zero to a peak fire rate of many thousands of projectiles per minute.

The centrifugal gun will be seen to effectively offer “dial up” projectile ejection parameters. If fewer projectiles are wanted per unit time then the rotary ejection mechanism of the gun is run more slowly (for lower velocity and lower energy projectiles), or intermittently at high rotational speeds (for higher velocity and higher energy projectiles).

If less energetic projectiles are wanted than the rotary ejection method is rotated more slowly. Conversely, if projectiles of greater energy are required then the ejection method is rotated more quickly. (A projectile is normally fed, and ejected, some integral number of times each rotation. However, this need not be the case, and the rotary ejection mechanism can be continuously or intermittently spun at any rate without ejecting projectiles.)

If more projectiles are wanted per unit time the rotary ejection mechanism is simply spun faster.

2.3 Relationship Between the Present, and Related Predecessor, Inventions

The present invention will be seen to concern a new projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun that is of lower mass than counterpart previous mechanisms. The new mechanism operates reliably, and if desired continuously, at all speeds of the rotary projectile ejection mechanism, and counterpart ejected projectile velocities and energies. Moreover, it imparts negliable vibration to the centrifugal gun at all operational speeds.

Because there is no recoil, nor any other mechanical force (in accordance with Newton's laws of motion) imparted from a centrifugal weapon which forces do not build up gradually in the progressive acceleration of a projectile from a standstill (relative to the gun, which may itself ve moving upon a vehicle) to ejection velocity, firing a centrifugal weapon in accordance with the present and related invention is a “aerie” experience for those used to conventional machine guns. The centrifugal gun is quiet and smooth. It is easy, almost effortless, to aim. It is thus hard to believe the obvious destructive power of the ejected projectiles, which can be fully individually as energetic as bullets from high power ammunition rounds, and at considerably rates of fire.

Thus the present mechanical improvements, coupled with increasing field experience with actual centrifugal gums, may be said to have contributed to the new usage scenarios of the present invention.

2.4 Objectives of the Present Invention

It is an object of the present invention, as it was of both the Inventor's previously patented invention and his invention of the related patent application, to provide a novel automatic weapon utilizing centrifugal force which provides both a high rate of discharge (rounds per minute) and high muzzle velocity.

It likewise remains an object to provide such an automatic weapon which operates in a continuous stealth mode to increase its operational capabilities and the survivability of the weapon crew.

It likewise remains a further object to provide such a weapon which effectively eliminates overheating, jamming, the need for synchronized feeding and peripheral discharge, and any requirement for mechanical compensation for possible gyroscopic reaction.

It likewise remains a still further object to provide such a weapon which has the capability of firing thousands of rounds per minute at high velocities with a continuous supply of projectiles and without the need for feed to fire synchronization, and without incorporating some form of gyroscopic control system and some form of balancing device.

It is a still further particular object of the present invention that any of the of (1) instances of the release of projectiles, (2) the numbers of projectiles released per instance, and (3) the numbers of instances per revolution at which projectiles may selectively be released, should be easily, positively, exactingly and reliably controllable.

It is yet a still further a particular object of the present invention to produce a centrifugal weapon where the velocity, and rate, of projectile ejection is continuously variably controllable in a range extending from zero velocity and rate to a maximum velocity of many hundreds of feet per second, and a maximum rate of several thousands of ejected projectiles per minute. This is quite unlike a conventional propellant-based automatic weapon where a minimum amount of propellant must typically be used to reliably activate the mechanism of the weapon while propellant of less than some maximum amount must be used to accommodate the maximum operational cycle speed of the same mechanism.

It is yet a still further particular object of the present invention to set forth new methods of use of a weapon that

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention contemplates the launching of projectiles by centrifugal forces in a centrifugal gun at, permissively, high revolutions per second and high ejection velocities, without allowing the G-Forces used to launch the projectiles from the gun to hinder the cyclical operation of the projectile release mechanism. A centrifugal gun so improved will have, inter alia, the capacity to eject of identical projectiles, typically ball bearings, (1) in numbers ranging from one projectile at a time to many millions continuously ejected over whatsoever time interval is desired, while (2) ejecting such projectiles at a continuously variably adjustable force and rate ranging from but a few projectiles that may be veritably “dribbled” from an ejection port at temporal separation one to the next ranging to many tens of seconds duration to a rapid fire wherein projectile velocities (and energies) exceed comparably sized munitions while ejection rates greatly exceed comparably sized munitions.

The present invention further contemplates new scenarios of military usage of a centrifugal gun so improved and so functioning.

  • 1. The Projectile Trigger Release Mechanism for a Centrifugal Gun of the Predecessor Invention

In one of its aspects the predecessor and related inventions were embodied in a weapon for peripherally discharging projectiles under centrifugal force—a centrifugal gun.

The preferred gun had a housing, or surround track, at least one member rotating within the housing, and at least one channel with a radial component within the at least one rotating member within which channel projectiles received near the center of rotation progress radially outwards until, escaping under centrifugal force at the periphery of the at least one rotating member, the projectiles are guided by the housing, or surround track, until finally being ejected from the weapon.

  • 2. The Improved Projectile Trigger Release Mechanism for a Centrifugal Gun in Accordance with the Present Invention

To this basic structure the present invention constitutes an improvement where (1) there exist dual opposed channels, and where (2) a projectile trigger release mechanism for controlling passage of projectiles along each of the dual channels—and thus an escape of the projectiles from the at least one rotating member, and thus the ejection of the projectiles from the weapon—is balanced in its movements. The improved projectile trigger release mechanism is so balanced by dint of including dual, balanced, connected elongate members, each substantially positioned along a radius line and within the at least one rotating member, and each having a distal end protruding within the at least one channel and a proximal end cam follower. By this construction each elongate member moves radially outward under centrifugal force of the rotation of the at least one rotating member simultaneously that the other elongate member moves inward. Thus a distal end of the outward-moving elongate member protrudes within its associated channel, therein obstructing passage of projectiles along the channel and any escape of projectiles from the periphery of the at least one rotating member.

Further, a ring cam, stationary to the housing and with its center displaced from a rotational axis of the at least one rotating member, has a cam surface that, when contacted during rotation by the cam follower of an elongate member, acts to pull the elongate member against centrifugal force radially inwards until the distal end of this elongate member ceases to protrude within the channel sufficiently so as to obstruct any passage of projectiles along the channel. Thus one or more projectiles are permitted to pass radially outwards in the at least one channel for subsequent escape from the at least one rotating member, and for subsequent ejection from the weapon.

By this construction both the inward and outward movements of the dual connected elongate members are balanced each by the other, and vibration in the centrifugal gun due to reciprocating members in its trigger mechanism is reduced.

In this weapon, or centrifugal gun, the cam surface of the ring cam preferably acts on the cam follower of each elongate arm to gate passage of exactly one projectile within the channel of the at least one rotating member, and the escape and ejection of this one projectile, for each rotation of the rotating member of the weapon.

Further in this weapon, or centrifugal gun, a projectile escaping the at least one rotating member by action of the elongate member preferably contacts the housing, of guide track, while also contacting and abutting a next projectile within the channel, making that each elongate arm may cycle to its inwards position without obstructing or frictional contact with any projectiles

Still further in this weapon, or centrifugal gun, the cam surface of the ring cam acts on the cam follower of each elongate arm to gate passage of a plurality of projectiles within the channel of the at least one rotating member, and the escape and ejection of these plurality of projectiles, for each rotation of the rotating member of the weapon.

Yet still further in this weapon, or centrifugal gun, there are a plurality of rotating members each with an associated channel. Each elongate member is associated with each channel of each rotating member. A cam follower of each elongate member is acted upon in turn by a same cam surface of the ring cam so as to gate passage of one or more projectiles within the channel of the associated rotating member, and the escape and the ultimate ejection of these one or more projectiles, upon each rotation of the plurality of rotating members.

Yet still further in this weapon, or centrifugal gun, the at least one rotating member and its associated channel, and its associated elongate member with its cam follower, and the ring cam, are all substantially in the same plane.

Yet still further in this weapon, or centrifugal gun, an electric motor serves to rotate the at least one rotating member. This motor preferably has a variable speed control.

  • 3. A Most Preferred Embodiment of the Present Invention

Therefore, in one of its aspects the present invention is preferably embodied in the trigger control mechanism of a weapon for peripherally discharging projectiles under centrifugal force, Such a weapons has (1) a housing, or surround track, (2) at least one member rotating within the housing, and (3) at least one channel with a radial component within the at least one rotating member within which channel projectiles received near the center of rotation progress radially outwards until, escaping under centrifugal force at the periphery of the at least one rotating member, the projectiles are guided by the housing, or surround track, until finally being ejected from the weapon, as well as (4) a projectile release mechanism for controlling passage of projectiles along a channel, and thus an escape of one or more projectiles from the at least one rotating member, and thus the ejection of the one or more projectiles from the weapon. It is, in common parlance, a centrifugal gun.

In this weapon the preferred embodiment of projectile release mechanism in accordance with the present invention includes (1) one or more spring-loaded lever release mechanisms, each located in a cavity separate from the projectiles channel but each proximate to an outer end of an associated projectiles channel. Each lever release mechanism has a catch resting against an associated sear of a selector mechanism so that, when triggered by movement of the selector mechanism and its sear, a spring-loaded arm does move within an associated channel sufficiently so as to controllably gate a passage of projectiles along this associated channel, and a progression towards the escape of the one or more projectiles from the at least one rotating member, and thus also a progression towards the ejection of the one or more projectiles from the weapon.

The preferred embodiment of projectile release mechanism further includes (2) a selector mechanism, positioned substantially concentric but slightly eccentric to the at least one rotating member and having one or more arms terminating in a sear that is within the cavity of, and that engages a spring-loaded lever release, or an associated spring-loaded lever release mechanism. This selector mechanism also has one or more cam followers engaging the inner circumference of a ring cam so that the slight eccentricity of the selector mechanism does cause with rotation of the ring cam that first one, and then a next, of the spring-loaded lever release mechanisms will be triggered, making that a succession or projectiles are gated from each channel, and from all channels, of the rotating member, and of the weapon.

Finally, the preferred embodiment of projectile release mechanism still further includes (3) a ring cam, stationary to the housing and with its center eccentrically displaced from a rotational axis of the at least one rotating member, having an interior circumferential cam surface that, when engaged and contacted during rotation by the cam followers of the selector member. The selector member is caused to move in position so as to cause that first one, and then a next, of the spring-loaded lever release mechanisms will be triggered, making that a succession or projectiles are gaged from each channel, and from all channels, of the rotating member, and of the weapon.

By this construction, and this coaction, the movement of the slightly eccentric selector mechanism is but slight, and substantially balanced about the axis of rotation of the at least one rotating member, making both that (1) the coaction of the selector mechanism and the one or more spring-loaded release mechanisms can be very fast, and very many projectiles can be gated in their channels and ejected from the weapon per unit time, and (2) the weapon is substantially devoid of vibration during this gating and this ejection.

In this preferred embodiment the cam surface of the ring cam preferably acts on the cam followers of the selector mechanism to gate via the spring-loaded lever release mechanism (1) the passage of exactly one projectile within a channel of the at least one rotating member, (2) the escape of this one projectile from the rotating member, and (3) the ejection of this one projectile from the weapon, per each rotation of the rotating member.

Still further in this preferred embodiment, a projectile escaping the at least one rotating member by action of the spring-loaded lever release mechanism contacts the housing, of guide track, while also contacting and abutting a next projectile within the channel, making that each spring-loaded release mechanism may cycle to its closed position obstructing progression of projectiles within the channel without obstructing or frictional contact with any projectiles

The cam surface of the ring cam preferably acts on the one or more cam followers of the selector mechanism so as to gate via the spring-loaded lever release mechanism (1) the passage of a plurality of projectiles within the channel of the at least one rotating member, (2) the escape of this plurality of projectiles from the rotating member, and (3) the ejection of this plurality of projectiles from the weapon, per each rotation of the rotating member.

The at least one rotating member, the release mechanism with its cam followers, and the ring cam, are preferably all substantially in the same plane.

An electric motor preferably serves to rotate the at least one rotating member. This electric motor is preferably possessed of a control.

  • 4. A Method of Gating a Passage of Projectiles Within a Channel Within a Rotating Member of a Centrifugal Gun

In another of its aspects the present invention is embodied in a method of gating a passage of projectiles within a channel within a rotating member of a weapon ejecting the projectiles by centrifugal force, or centrifugal gun.

The gating method is directed to controlling the ejecting of the projectiles. The method consists of locating two opposed connected sliding elongate members within a plane of the rotating member, and sliding each these members between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within the channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed, and (2) a second position withdrawn from obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and to subsequently be ejected from and by the weapon. By this location and this operation the two opposed connected sliding members counterbalance each other in their sliding motion, and vibration in the weapon is reduced.

In its most preferred embodiment this method includes substantially balancing a projectile trigger release mechanism in all its parts about an axis of rotation of the rotating member so that, during movement of parts of the projectile trigger release mechanism between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within a projectile channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed, and (2) a second position no longer obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and to subsequently be ejected from and by the weapon, minimum unbalanced inertial forces are experienced by heavier parts, and the gating action can correspondingly be very rapid, and the projectile ejection very fast.

The projectile gating, and ejection, can most preferably be in excess of several thousand projectiles per minute, depending upon speed of revolution.

The method preferably includes substantially balancing a projectile trigger release mechanism in all its parts about an axis of rotation of the rotating member so that, during movement of parts of the projectile trigger release mechanism between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within a projectile channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed, and (2) a second position no longer obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and to subsequently be ejected from and by the weapon, minimum unbalanced inertial forces are experienced by heavier parts, and the vibration of the weapon is correspondingly low.

  • 5. Methods of Use of a Centrifugal Gun

In yet another of its aspects the present invention is embodied in new methods, or scenarios, of the use of a centrifugal gun.

5.1 Varying, and Continuously Varying, Projectile Force and Energy Levels

In one typical scenario in accordance with the present invention it is possible to use progressive levels of force, and lethality, to “probe” any unknown environment for potentially hostile personnel and weapons with a reasonable degree of grace and of control. For example infrequent and relatively weak projectiles may initially be used to probe vegetative growth such as bushes, or, by ricochets (which are most common at lower projectile velocities), around corners and through orifices, even into the interiors of buildings.

At this energy level the projectiles are non-lethal. Then, if satisfactory responses or indications are not forthcoming, the barrage may be escalated, with so many and so energetic projectiles released as tend to de-leave and de-limb vegetation, and to break windows. Finally, as the energy level and numbers of projectiles (both in absolute terms, and per unit time) are greatly increased, it is possible to literally disintegrate structures such as doors, walls, trees and the like that are targeted by the centrifugal gun.

5.2 Lavish Use of Projectiles

In the above-described usage, and in accordance with the present invention, it will be understood that the number of projectiles employed can be exceptionally lavish by the standards or previous vehicle-portable armaments. It is, for example, easily possible to bring to bear up to a million projectiles (equivalent to rounds) and more on even a causal objective—and still have adequate supplies to do it all over again “down the road”. Since the improved centrifugal gun can easily fire continuously even at the highest projectile energies, it does not normally take the progressive disintegration many entire buildings, normally over a period of some minutes, before enemy personnel secreted in ambush come to recognize that what starts as a gentle and harmless “rain” can rapidly escalate into a “hail storm” of unbelievable fury.

5.3 Point Defense

Another scenario of usage of the centrifugal gun in accordance with the present and related inventions is point defense, particularly against incoming ordinance and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Although activation of the centrifugal gun may be in response to radar-detected and/or real-time-computer-analyzed threat situations, it will be understood that target acquisition and/or fire control direction is neither necessarily, nor normally, so precise as is typical for larger caliber weapons such as naval anti-aircraft and anti-ships-missile cannons.

Instead, much in the vein of the “ack-ack” guns used by the United States Navy to down Kamikaze fighters during World War II, the contemplated operational scenario of the centrifugal gun is to put so many projectiles of sufficient energy into the air that literally nothing can get through a conical solid angle of, most typically, up to one steradian (or about one-sixth of sphere, or one-third of a hemisphere). Within this solid angle it is typically possible to have up to forty thousand (40,000) projectiles in the air at the same time for a single weapon. Of course multiple weapons may be used. Moreover, this rate of ejection, or “fire”, can be indefinitely maintained.

5.4 Advanced Discussion of New Modes of Warfare Presented by a Centrifugal Gun

As just explained, a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present and related inventions can readily be fielded with literally millions of projectiles. This, and other aspects of the gun to be discussed, are so radically different than heretofore that new scenarios of use in land and sea warfare are presented.

The ejected projectiles are preferably common ball bearings, and readily affordable as compared to ammunition. They need not be packed, stored, transported nor loaded to the weapon in any special manner, and are most normally entirely handled in bulk like as to agricultural fertilizer or feed that is poured from bags or drums into hoppers, or like as to even more extreme agricultural (and industrial) material bulk handling methods using road and rail bulk transport vehicles and mass material movers such as front loaders. Needless to say the preferably metal, preferably steel ball bearing, projectiles used in weapons in accordance with the present and related inventions can neither combust nor explode. No special protection nor handling, as with ammunition, is therefore required.

Further, centrifugal guns in accordance with the present and related inventions neither heat up to any considerable degree, nor wear out, nor require much of any maintenance, with any of use, heavy use, very heavy use or even continuous use. It may thus be contemplated that a single solder or sailor is given discretionary control over delivery of, say, ten million rounds, and that even a modest military engagement can result in the delivery of more small projectiles—akin to bullets—than were fired by most participants during World War II. Of course the “hail” is not of “lead” but—still worse for the recipient—of steel. It. will also be understood that all this mass can be delivered at an incredible rate (by the standards of previous small arms fire), and with full energies, comparable to a high power rifle round, for each projectile delivered.

This kind of firepower is proving to represent killing and destructive power of a new order, and to support new, and novel military scenarios of engagement. In the first place, centrifugal guns of the present and related inventions can kill a man in the manner that a shotgun is hypothesized to act upon the nervous system of a bird, shocking the man to death from multiple near simultaneous hits that, individually considered as in an autopsy, do not seem sufficiently significant—weather individually or in total—so as to constitute mortal wounds. This is especially true when it is considered, as later discussed, that the emitted projectile force level of centrifugal guns of the present and related inventions is continuously variable (in accordance with the speed of rotation) and can literally be “dialed in”.

At higher force levels the projectiles commence not just to kill, but to progressively disintegrate, biological targets. At these quite readily obtainable (and sustainable) levels there is no such thing as effective “battlefield medicine”. Exposed portions of living organisms including men are effectively shredded until, and higher levels, they are veritably disintegrated. Indeed, for maximum psychological effect it may not be optimum to simply disintegrate enemy forces with centrifugal guns, but rather to use (1) weapons emitting relatively smaller projectiles (i.e. BB's) (2) slung from the weapon at a short moment arm (i.e., from short radius disks) and thus of only moderate energy (as compared to the longer radius arms of larger disks) (3) at high rates (i.e., the disk is spinning quickly). This type of selective “fire” rate, selective size, selective energy “small arms” fire tends to fatally blind and wound enemy combatants in a manner where these combatants will strongly predominantly persist remaining alive (while being effectively untreatable in their scores of small wounds) for some period of time, hopefully thus serving to demoralize their compatriots.

Next, for someone who has only visualized the effects of continuous as small arms fire as, say, the progressive disintegration of a cement wall by an M60 machine gun, the sustained fire power of centrifugal guns in accordance with the present invention can be a revelation. It is not that projectiles from the centrifugal guns are so powerful—although they can be made to be so—but that they effectively go on for, most seemingly, forever. The continuous fire from a centrifugal gun starts to “eat away” at the structure or object under attack but, unlike a machine gun, does not stop (save at the volition of the gunner, or, most typically, the lapse of several hours, whichever comes first).

After some minutes it becomes clear that the effects of the weapon are better understood as a “remote jackhammer” than as a gun. Trees, vehicles, buildings and everything are subject to progressive destruction. Somewhat oppositely to the use of a fire hose by a fireman to distinguish fire, use of the centrifugal gun in continuous mode becomes a matter of the selective use of the “jackhammer”, undermining first one, and then another, part of the structural integrity of the target. For the first time in history a small military vehicle like a Humvee can, by the power of its own engine over time, remotely take down, by way of example, even a large building by, for example, progressive destruction of the support pillars of the building.

Now a military tactician, or those experienced in ground warfare, will understand that to remotely take down, by way of example, a building by use of high explosive, such as might conventionally be delivered by bomb or artillery, is a “dicey” process. First, fire zone must be established around the building so that friendly forces are not exposed to the blast. Next, the delivery of force precisely on target is, even with the advent of smart weaponry, considerably more difficult, and uncertain, than is the close delivery of selective force by a centrifugal gun. Finally, there is most typically wide variation in results, with too much or too little explosive force expended to do the precise task desired. It is submitted that an operator of a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present and related inventions can actually become skilled in “progressive demolition”. A target such as a building may “disassembled” bit by bit, and piece by piece, for so long as, and to such extent as, is desired.

These and other aspects and attributes of the present invention will become increasingly clear upon reference to the following drawings and accompanying specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring particularly to the drawings for the purpose of illustration only and not to limit the scope of the invention in any way, these illustrations follow:

FIG. 1 is top plan view of a centrifugal having a first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention in use for ejecting projectiles, by way of illustration in burst of six projectiles each burst.

FIG. 2 is a detail top plan view at expanded scale of the first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention at a first time and in a first, projectile-ejection-obstructing, position.

FIG. 3 is a detail top plan view at expanded scale of the first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention at a second time and in a second, projectile-ejection-enabling, position.

FIG. 4 is a detail top plan view at expanded scale of the first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention at a third time and in a third, projectile-ejection-obstructing, position with a previously gated projectile still pending ejection.

FIG. 5 is a detail top plan view at expanded scale of the first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention at a fourth time and still in the third, projectile-ejection-obstructing, position but with the previously gated projectile now being ejected.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view at expanded scale of the first embodiment projectile release mechanism in accordance with the related predecessor invention.

FIG. 7 is a plan view showing critical angular relationships of parts within the first embodiment projectile release mechanism of the related predecessor invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a drive motor, and a mechanism by which a ring cam 18 is displaced for enabling projectile ejection, within the most first embodiment projectile release of the related predecessor invention.

FIG. 9 is a side plan view of the mounting of a drive motor within the most first embodiment projectile release mechanism of the centrifugal in accordance with the related predecessor invention.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a centrifugal gun having an improved, second embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a view of an exemplary three arm selectors which, in their movement relative to a case, are a substantial part of the realization of the improved second embodiment of the projectile release mechanism in accordance with the present invention previously seen in part in FIG. 11.

FIGS. 12 and 13 show the detail movement of an arm within the previous, first embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun, previously seen in FIGS. 1-7, in accordance with the related predecessor inventions.

FIGS. 14 and 15 show movement of a selector, replacing the arm of FIGS. 12 and 13, within the improved, second embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention

FIG. 16 shows a handle bar assembly within the improved, second embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention

FIG. 17, consisting of FIGS. 17a and 17b, show movement of the handle bar assembly, previously seen in FIG. 16, within the improved, second embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 18 is a top plan view of a preferred lock arm, interactive with the rotating assembly previously seen in FIG. 1, et. seq, for controlling a loading of projectile balls in the improved, second embodiment of a projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention

FIG. 19, consisting of FIGS. 19a and 19b, are respective top and side plan views of a centrifugal gun having an improved, third embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism in accordance with the present invention in a first, projectile-release-obstructing, position.

FIG. 20, consisting of FIGS. 20a and 20b, are respective top and side plan views of a centrifugal gun with the improved, third embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism in accordance with the present invention previously seen in FIG. 19, this third embodiment of the release mechanism now in a second, projectile-releasing, position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following description is of the best mode presently contemplated for the carrying out of the invention. This description is made for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, and is not to be taken in a limiting sense. The scope of the invention is best determined by reference to the appended claims.

Although specific embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the drawings, it should be understood that such embodiments are by way of example only and are merely illustrative of but a small number of the many possible specific embodiments to which the principles of the invention may be applied. Various changes and modifications obvious to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains are deemed to be within the spirit, scope and contemplation of the invention as further defined in the appended claims.

I. Discussion of the Related Predecessor Inventions

The related predecessor inventions contemplated a positive-acting projectile release mechanism for a weapon peripherally ejecting projectiles under centrifugal force. For each rotation of a rotating member of the weapon, each of (1) the number of different channels, or instances, at and from which projectiles are released, (2) the number of times that projectiles are released (ejected) from each channel, and even (3) the number of projectiles released each time from each channel, may be variably predetermined, and to some extent may be variably controlled. High rates of projectile ejection are reliably realized. For example, some 2,000 spherical steel projectiles of 0.308 inch diameter and may typically be ejected at a velocity of 800 to 3000 feet per second each minute on either a continuously sustained basis or in bursts.

The related predecessor inventions further contemplated a centrifugal weapon where the velocity, and the rate, of projectile ejection is continuously variably controllable in a range extending from zero velocity and rate to a maximum velocity of many hundreds of feet per second, and a maximum rate of several thousands of ejected projectiles per minute. The weapon is continuously variably operative throughout this range, normally by the simple expedient of speeding up, or slowing, the rotation of an electric motor which powers a rotating member from which, and by which, the projectiles are ultimately ejected. The positive-acting projectile release mechanism remains reliably operational throughout this range, and is not negatively effected by any variation in the ejection cycle time of the weapon.

1.1 A Projectile Release Mechanism for a Weapon for Peripherally Discharging Projectiles Under Centrifugal Force

Accordingly, in one or its aspects the related predecessor invention was embodied in a projectile release mechanism for use in a weapon for peripherally discharging projectiles under centrifugal force.

Such a weapon has (1) a peripheral housing or guide track having an opening through which projectiles may be ejected, (2) at least one member a disc or an arm—rotating within the housing, and (3) at least one channel, having a radial component, located within the at least one rotating member. Projectiles received into this at least one channel near the center of rotation progress radially outwards until ejected under centrifugal force of the at least one rotating member at the opening of the peripheral housing, or guide track.

In this weapon one or more projectile release mechanisms in accordance with the present invention serve to control release of the projectiles. The preferred projectile release mechanism interacts with each rotating member—the rotating disc or, equivalently, the one or more rotating elongate arms, as are described above. More particularly, the preferred mechanism acts within the channels, and with the projectiles contained within these channels, of each rotating member (the rotating disk or rotating arm(s)) so as to control, or “gate”, the ejection of these projectiles from the weapon.

The projectile release mechanism includes an elongate linear member, normally in the form of a simple rod, that is normally positioned substantially along a radius line and within a rotating member (the rotating disc, or a rotating arm). This elongate linear member has (1) a distal end protruding within the at least one channel and (2) a proximal end cam follower. The elongate member, or rod, moves radially outward under centrifugal force of the rotation of the rotating member (the disc, or a rotating arm) until its distal end protrudes within the channel of the member, therein obstructing passage of projectiles along the channel and blocking any ejection of projectiles from the periphery of the at least one rotating member

The projectile release mechanism also includes a ring cam, stationary to the housing and substantially centered to the rotational axis of the rotating member (the rotating disc, or a rotating arm). The interior circumference of this ring cam contacts the proximal end of the cam follower. When this ring cam is eccentrically moved, as is preferred when releasing the projectiles, the cam follower of the elongate member, or rod, will move this elongate member, or rod, radially during the course of rotation.

Thus a sliding contact between the cam surface of the ring cam and the cam follower of the elongate arm, or rod, during rotation of rotating member serves to pull the elongate member against centrifugal force radially inwards until the distal end of the elongate arm ceases to protrude within the channel sufficiently so as to obstruct any passage of projectiles along the channel. By this action one or more projectiles are permitted to pass radially outwards in the at least one channel for subsequent ejection.

The cam surface of the ring cam acting on the cam follower of the elongate arm, or rod, may serve to gate passage of but one projectile within the channel of the at rotating member, and ejection of this single projectile, but once each rotation of the rotating member of the weapon. However, the cam surface of the ring cam may alternatively act on the cam follower of the elongate arm to gate passage of a plurality of projectiles within the channel of the at least one rotating member, and ejection of this plurality of projectiles, each rotation of the rotating member of the weapon.

Consider now when the ring cam is concentrically mounted to the rotating member (the rotating disk, or a rotating arm). If the camming surface (the interior diameter) of the ring cam presents a plurality of raised areas, then a camming movement of the elongate member, or rod, can gate passage within an associated channel, and subsequent ejection from the weapon, of one or more projectiles upon each of a plurality of times each rotation.

Finally, it may be considered that a rotating member in the form a rotating disc may have multiple channels, each with its associated projectile timer release mechanism. Equivalently, the rotating member may consist of multiple rotating arms, each with its own associated projectile timer release mechanism. Clearly a greater number of projectile channels holds the possibility of releasing more projectiles per rotation.

Accordingly, the number of different channels, or instances, at and from which projectiles are released each rotation may be controlled. Moreover, the number of times that projectiles are released (ejected) from each channel may be controlled. Finally, the number of projectiles released each time may be controlled. Release, or ejection, control or projectiles is really quite exquisite, and extends to far more than just numbers and rates. For example, research with ballistic weapons has established the utility of sometimes sending more than one, and some two or three bullets, towards without going into a sustained fuselage, or avalanche, or cascade, of continuous fire. The projectile release mechanism of the present invention readily permits, for example, that two projectiles might be released (ejected), followed by a pause, followed by the release (ejection) of two more projectiles, and so on. The weapon preferably, and most commonly does, use a disc with several channels or, equivalently, several rotating members each with an associated channel. There are then a like number of projectile release mechanisms, one release mechanism for each channel. The cam follower of the elongate member, or rod, or each release mechanism is then acted upon in turn by a same cam surface of the ring cam so as to gate passage of one ore more projectiles within the channel of the associated rotating member, and the ejection of these one or more projectiles, upon each rotation of the rotating member of the weapon.

The at least one rotating member and its associated one or more channels, and its associated projectile release mechanism consisting of the elongate member with its cam follower, and also of the ring cam, are all substantially in the same plane. The weapon may use an electric motor rotating the at least one rotating member. A control for the motor permits varying the rotational force, and the corresponding rate at which projectiles are expelled, and their expulsion velocity.

1.2. A Method of Gating Passage of Projectiles Within a Channel Within a Rotating Member of a Weapon Ejecting the Projectiles by Centrifugal Force

In another of its aspects the related predecessor inventions were embodied in a method of gating passage of projectiles within a channel within a rotating member of a weapon ejecting the projectiles by centrifugal force. The gating method is directed to controlling the ejection of the projectiles.

The preferred method includes locating a sliding member within a plane of the rotating member for sliding between (1) a first position obstructing any passage of projectiles within the channel under centrifugal force, and any subsequent expelling of projectiles, and (2) a second position withdrawn from obstructing the channel of the rotating member, permitting projectiles to pass along the channel under centrifugal force and a subsequent ejection of projectiles so passed from and by the weapon.

The sliding member preferably assumes its first position under centrifugal force.

The sliding member preferably assumes its second position under a camming force.

1.3. A Centrifugal Weapon Where the Velocity, and Rate, of Projectile Ejection is Continuously Variably Controllable

In still yet another of their aspects the related predecessor inventions were embodied in a centrifugal weapon where the velocity, and rate, of projectile ejection is continuously variably controllable.

The weapon includes a variable speed rotational prime mover imparting rotational force.

A member is driven in rotation by the prime mover. This rotating member has at least one channel in which a projectile may move outwardly from a feed position near a center of rotation to an escape position at the periphery of the rotating member.

A housing, or track, guides projectiles escaping at the periphery of the rotating member so that the projectiles are ejected from the weapon at a predetermined exit point.

Finally, a projectile release mechanism controls passage of projectiles within the at least one channel of the rotating member, and thus the escape of these projectiles from the periphery of the rotating member, and thus the ejection of these projectiles from the weapon. This projectile release mechanism is continuously so functional for controlling passage of the projectiles when the rotational speed and force of the prime mover is varied in a range between (1) essentially zero, where but few projectiles infrequently dribble from the weapon with essentially zero ejection velocity, and (2) a high rate of speed where multiplicities of more than 10 projectiles each minute are ejected from the weapon at speeds greater than 100 feet per second;

Accordingly, both a velocity, and a rate, of projectile ejection from the weapon are continuously variable with change in the rotational speed of the prime mover.

The prime mover preferably consists of an electric motor.

The preferred projectile release mechanism is as before, including (1) an elongate member moving radially outward under centrifugal force of the rotation of the at least one rotating member until its distal end protrudes within the at least one channel, therein obstructing passage of projectiles along the channel and any escape of projectiles from the periphery of the at least one rotating member, and (2) a ring cam, stationary to the housing and with its center displaced from a rotational axis of the at least one rotating member, having a cam surface that, when contacted during rotation by the cam follower of the elongate member, acts to pull the elongate member against centrifugal force radially inwards until the distal end of the elongate member ceases to protrude within the channel sufficiently so as to obstruct any passage of projectiles along the channel, therein permitting one or more projectiles to pass radially outwards in the at least one channel for subsequent escape from the at least one rotating member, and for subsequent ejection from the weapon.

2. General Operation and Principles of the Related Predecessor Inventions

In accordance with the related predecessor inventions an electrically operated weapon uses electrical energy for both the weapon's operation and the launching of projectiles by rotating a member at high revolutions per second to generate high centrifugal forces. A large number of projectiles may be launched per unit time at very high velocities. The present invention particularly concerns a projectile release mechanism for use in a weapon for peripherally discharging projectiles under centrifugal force. Such a weapon is shown in issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,520,169, for a weapon for Centrifugal Propulsion of Projectiles to the selfsame inventor as is the present invention. The contents of the related predecessor patent application are incorporated herein by reference.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a plan view of a weapon 1 having a rotating member 11 with release areas 19 which permit the release of projectiles 2 and 2′ (shown ejected in FIG. 1, shown still within the weapon 1 in FIGS. 2-5) which have been held within housing, or guide track, 11 until reaching under rotation Y the release point X. In accordance with the present invention, projectiles 2 and 2° FIG. 1 were gated for this release by action of a projectile release mechanism consisting of an elongate, linear, member, or rod, 15 which has been actuated and moved in position in a radial direction typified by arrow Z by action of ring cam 18.

The linear member, or rod, 15 both loads and releases the projectiles 2, 2′ periodically with rotation of the rotating member 1 by cyclically assuming (when the weapon 1 is activated for projectile ejection by movement of ring cam 18, as will be later explained) each of two predetermined positions. One, radially withdrawn, position ultimately permits the projectiles 2, 2′ to depart at point X the confinement provided by outer housing, or ring, or guide track 17. These projectiles 2, 2′ depart the weapon 1 in a straight line, as illustrated, normally with one projectile 2 being gated by elongate linear member, or rod 15 into a release area 19 (of which three such are shown in FIG. 1) for each revolution of rotating member 11.

In the example shown in this invention there are three (3) release areas 19 and, if but one projectile 2a-2n (reference FIG. 2) is gated into each release area 19 per revolution, only three projectiles are released per revolution. For example, if the rotating member 11 rotates at 1000 revolutions per second, the rotating member will release 3000 projectiles per second. Conversely, of two such projectiles were to be gated into each release area 19 per revolution, then the pattern of the flight of the projectiles in space would resemble that of moving projectiles 2, 2′ as illustrated in FIG. 1.

3. Details of Construction of the Centrifugal Gun of the Related Predecessor Inventions

FIG. 1 shows a basic rotating member in the form of a disc 11 which provides projectile-loading ball tracks, or channels, 16. The disc 11 may alternatively be replaced by one or more rotating arms—normally two, three or four such arms at equiangular separation.

FIG. 1 shows three ball tracks, or channels, numbered 16. As the rotating member—illustrated to be a disc—11 rotates in the direction of arrow Y, the projectiles 2a-2n shown in FIG. 2 as round spheres, or balls, are directed towards the exit point, or cavity, 19 of the rotating member 11 by the centrifugal force resulting from the rotation of the rotating member 11.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 6, the balls 2a-2n are prevented from departing the rotating member, or disc, 11 by the elongate member, or rod, 15. This linear elongate member, or rod, 15 is a first part of a projectile release, or gating, mechanism in which a ring cam 18 is the second part. This elongate member, or rod, 15 is first held in the position shown in FIG. 2 where it prevents the first projectile, or ball, 2a, and behind it all other projectiles (balls) 2b-2n, from moving into release area 19 of rotating member (disc) 11 where it would be free to press up against housing, or guide track, 17 and to ultimately depart the rotating member (disc) 11 at exit X.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 6, the elongate linear member, or rod, 15 is attaches by known means to an elongate member selector 13 (best seen in FIG. 6) which perpendicularly attaches a cam follower in the form of roller 14. The entire elongate member, or rod 15 with its selector 13 its roller cam follower 14 are all radially urged to an outward position by centrifugal force resultant from the rotation of the rotating member, or disc, 11. FIG. 6 gives the clearest view of the preferred assembly configuration of rod 15 with its selector 13 and its cam follower roller 14. The outward, or distal, end of the rod 15 is able to prevent the projectiles, or balls, 2a-2n from departing the rotating member (disc) 11 regardless of the rotational speed of the rotating member (disc) 11 and the number of balls 2a-2n present in ball track, or channel, 16.

A unique feature of the projectile release mechanism of the present invention, and the cooperative interaction of its parts, will now be described. There is provided a ring cam 18, shown in FIG. 1, that is held non-rotating by known means. The center of this circular ring cam may, however, assume positions both (1) coaxial to, and (2) displaced from, the rotational axis of rotating member 11. (The mechanism for so doing is shown in FIG. 8.)

This ring cam 18 is always positioned so that the inside of ring cam 18 faces the outer portion of the roller(s) 14 (of which there are three such present in this example drawing FIG. 1. FIG. 1 shows ring cam 18 positioned in the center of housing 1. Displacing the cam ring 18 to the direction of arrow Z—which is intended to show the directional relationship of the movement of ring cam 18 and its positional relationship to outer guide rail 17—permits that the linear elongate member, or rod, 15 should be pulled inward to its position shown in FIG. 3. The dashed line indicates how the ring cam 18 has moved eccentrically. (The ring cam 18 does not change size.)

This sequence or movement of the ring cam 18 and, responsively thereto, the linear elongate member(s), or rod(s), 15 permits the projectiles 2a-23n to be gated to release area 19. This sequence is shown in FIGS. 2-5. Then, a released, or escaped, projectile, or ball, 2a being held within the release area 19 by the housing, or guide track, or guide rail 17, it will ultimately depart the confinement at point X (shown in FIG. 1).

The ball guide 12 as is particularly shown in detain in FIGS. 1 and 6 is normally so configured as an insert into the rotating member, or disc, 111 for ease of machining. This ball guide 12 provides the necessary precision curve that allows a “head” projectile, or ball, 2a-2n in line—illustrated as ball 2a in FIG. 2—to assume position ready to be released. Once the concentically mounted ring cam 18 is actuated by movement in direction of arrow Z, then this ring cam 18 causes the withdrawal of cam follower roller 14 towards the center 110. Regard FIGS. 1 and 2. The ball 2a moves into position 19.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show the ball 2a now occupying position 19, as is still further shown in FIG. 4. FIG. 3 shows the cam ring 18 retracting (FIG. 3 shows previous position of cam ring 18 prior to actuation in direction of arrow Z FIG. 1). The selector 13 of the linear elongate member, or rod, 15 acts only but for a small portion of the rotation and prior to projectile, or ball, 2a being released at exit point X of the housing, or guide rail, 17.

FIG. 4 shows that linear elongate member, or rod, 15 has returned to its forward position now preventing ball 2b from moving into area 19.

FIG. 5 shows how the mechanism permits ball 2a to be precisely released at point X. The release of one ball per revolution per channel 16 of the rotating disc 11 has thus been sequentially illustrated in FIGS. 2-5.

Another object of this invention is to provide a mechanical release system that releases the balls precisely at a given point consistently and therefore allows the determination of the impact point onto a target. FIGS. 2-4 show ball 2a having been moved to and occupying position 19 as is finally shown in FIG. 4. Further, FIG. 4 also shows the housing, or guide rail, 17 holding ball 2a in a pre-determined position. This predetermined position of ball 2a holds ball 2b in place and so on. In this manner the subsequent ball 2b will not impede movement of linear elongate member, or rod, 15 and will permit this elongate member 15 to readily move back into forward position once the cam follower roller 14 has escaped the offset portion of the ring cam 18.

FIG. 3 again shows this action of the housing, or guide rail, 17 to hold ball 2a in a position that in turn holds ball 2b so as to permit the elongate member, or rod, 15 to go forward under the influence of the centrifugal forces once it is out of the confines of the offset ring cam 18.

FIG. 4 shows ball 2a ready to depart. It does so in FIG. 5. Meanwhile the elongate member, or rod, 15 prevents ball 2b from moving into position 19. Further rotation of disc 11 will permit this ball 2b to move into position 19 and to be subsequently released during the next revolution of disc 11.

This sequence repeats itself every revolution releasing one ball per exit 19 from each channel 16 that is within the rotating member(s), or disc, 11 per revolution (so long as the cam ring 18 is displaced in direction of arrow Z as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3).

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing relationship of ball guide 12, linear elongate member, or rod, 15, and an aperture B which guides and supports the rod 15. A recess C shown in FIG. 6 provides the positional recess area for the ball guide 2 and the selector 13 at position A. The rotating member, or disc, 11 can be made from a lightweight composite material, as can ball guide 2 and elector 13.

A cover, not shown, is fitted onto disc 11. There is also provided, but not shown, a hopper type ball feeder magazine system with self contained vibration means to ensure constant ball feeding into center 110 of the rotating member, or disc, 11. The feeding system ensures that the correct number of balls are fed into each ball track, or channel, 16—as is best shown in FIG. 6. Once the cam ring 18 is actuated it will deliver an equal amount of balls from each exit area 19 of the rotating member, or disc, 11.

FIG. 6 shows the basic relationship of the major components that perform the sequenced projectile release operation. The selector 13 has to be, and is, cammed inwards towards the center 110 by the actuation of cam ring 18 as shown by directional arrow Z in FIG. 1. This camming action has a predetermined stroke as is best shown in FIG. 3. This predetermined stroke can be reduced substantially by a simple lever reduction system (not shown) which reduces the amount of G-Forces that would otherwise be exerted on the related parts and provide a more efficient and quicker releasing sequence.

Yet another important aspect of the present invention is the preferred design of (1) the rotating member, or disc, 11 and its faces and (2) its insert ball guides 12 as is best shown in FIGS. 3 and 6. These specially contoured features help the balls maintain a specific required timing during their respective movements. The curvatures ensure that the coaction of projectile balls and the parts of weapon 1 do not impede or otherwise effect the function and sequence timing, particularly the critical function of the elongate member, or rod, 15 and the entire projectile release mechanism of the present invention. Details of construction are shown in FIG. 7.

The various parts can readily be made from a number of different strong metal and plastic materials. FIG. 7 also shows the most preferred, critical, positions of all features as are interrelated and designed to work to work together in harmony at high speed. Together with the rotation of the rotating member (disc) 11, the exit X of the weapon 1 and the rotational direction of arrow Y and the generated centrifugal forces provide the release launch energy for the projectiles 2, 2′ (shown in FIG. 1). An optional ring-shaped projectile provides aerodynamic capabilities not capable or available to conventional weapons using conventional powder propellant munitions.

A perspective view showing a drive motor 203, and a mechanism 200-204 by which a ring cam 18 may be displaced for enabling projectile ejection, is shown in FIG. 8. In light of previous explanation, the operation should be obvious.

A side plan view of the preferred mounting of a drive motor 203 within the most preferred first embodiment of a weapon in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 9.

4. General Discussion of a Centrifugal Gun Employing the Improved Projectile Release System, and Exercisable in Accordance with the Methods of, the Present Invention

Centrifugal force is the basis of projectile propulsion in the present and related predecessor inventions. Use of conventional powder propellants is eliminated. This permits the deployment of a weapon that is completely jam proof, does not generate any heat, or blast and is completely safe for the environment since it also eliminates lead toxic projectiles. Most normally, steel ball bearings of 0.308 inch diameter (corresponding to 0.308 caliber bullets) are used as projectiles, although the weapon may easily vary in size to accommodate projectiles from 0.1 to 1 inch.

One significant aspect of the present and related invention is that the weapon 1 does not exhibit any recoil as is common with weapons that utilize exploding powder propellants. The opposite force to the ejection (per Newton's laws) is taken up in the rotating mass of the rotating member 11 and most commonly, an electric motor (not shown) used to drive this member 11 in rotation. The present and related inventions therefore permit deployment in areas such as in space in a geostationary orbit, which would otherwise be impossible with conventional weapons using exploding powder propellants.

The weapon using centrifugal propulsion for projectiles in accordance with the present and related inventions may be compared to conventional weapons that fire conventional ammunition at high rates of fire through either a single barrel or multiple barrels such as Vulcan type Mini-Guns.

Due to the explosive nature of the powder propellants these weapons cannot provide sustained fire due to the heat generated which results in weapon stoppages, jams and failures. Further, these weapons carry only a limited amount of munitions due to their bulk size in nature. These limitations are substantially obviated by the centrifugal weapon of the present and related inventions.

Finally, in confined spaces conventional weapons are hazardous to their operators. One object of the present and related inventions is to eliminate these limitations, problems and hazardous effects and introduce capabilities and tactical roles previously unachievable. It is a further object to introduce a technology of improved operational safety and greater reliability than is presently possible with conventional weapons firing conventional munitions. The complete elimination of exploding powder propellants in weapons of the present design provides for the first time ever a weapon system that is totally undetectable due to its silent operation, improving likelihood of combat mission success.

5. The Improved, Second Embodiment, Trigger Release Mechanism in Accordance the Present Invention

The improved, second embodiment, trigger release mechanism in accordance with the present invention should be understood in the context of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3—already seen and discussed—as do show the previous, first, embodiment of this mechanism. Accordingly, like reference numbers are used in FIGS. 10-15 showing this improved, second, embodiment as do correspond to the same elements in the first embodiment. In other words, for clarity, the same numbers are used for equivalent parts if the parts referred to are shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 or are shown in FIGS. 10-15.

The present invention permits launching of projectiles by centrifugal forces (high revolutions per second) without allowing the G-Forces used to launch the projectiles from hindering the operation of the projectile release mechanism. The complete centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention is shown in side plan view in FIG. 10.

In description of FIG. 10, and of the present invention, it is necessary to reflect on the previous embodiment of this invention by the same inventor, Charles St George. For ease of this description, the same number parts and names (for equivalent parts) are used as in the related predecessor applications and patents, the contents of which are incorporated. In FIG. 10 the parts are thus identified as in these applications and patents. Further, the interaction of these parts has been explained in the related predecessor applications and patents, and is further explained below.

FIG. 11 shows the arm selector 13, some three (3) of which are depicted in relationship to the cam 18, of the previous—not the current—embodiment of the present invention. Further in FIG. 11 it can be readily identified, and remembered, that the arms 13 (which there are 3 depicted) are subjected individually to G-Forces generated by the rotation of body/housing 11 as was previously shown in FIGS. 1, et seq.

Still in the previous, and not in the present, embodiment of the trigger mechanism, detail movement of the arm just previously seen in FIG. 11, and before that in FIGS. 1-7, is shown in FIGS. 12 and 13. In accordance with the related predecessor inventions, movement of the arm 13—particularly shown in FIG. 13—is in direction of arrow D1. This movement, and this sequence of movement, allows the repeated release of the projectiles. However, in order to accomplish this, the arm 13 has to be moved in direction of arrow D1 to a gap width of X, which is a preferred distance to that of ½ the projectile diameter which in this invention is a projectile diameter of 0.308 inches. Therefore, the gap depicted by dimension X is about 0.150 inches.

As the three (3) individual arms 13 are revolving at extremely high revolution per minute they generate very high G-Forces and as such hinder the actuation of the cam 18 to successfully move the required distance to release the projectiles and in fact at very high revolutions the forces generated by the three arms 13 prevent the cam 18 from being able to move in the direction of arrow D1.

As such, two problems are evident. The first is the massive G-Forces generated by the three (3) individual arm 13 act to prevent the cam 18 from being moved in direction of arrow D! (See FIG. 13). Second, the required distance the cam 18 has to move to provide release gap is, as explained, the width X. This width X further compounds the problem by the need of cam 18 to dwell the necessary time to accomplish this task.

In attempting to move the cam 18 the three (3) arms 13 induce a breaking effect for at least ½ of the inside circumference of the cam 18. We are now, finally, ready to approach and to discuss the precise improved, second and third embodiment, trigger release mechanisms of the present invention.

It is an object of the improved, second and third, embodiments of the present invention to provide a projectile release mechanism that will accomplish the releasing task at extremely high G-Forces, which are necessary to provide the departing projectiles a high velocity or higher velocities than previously possible.

In accordance with and improved second embodiment of a trigger release mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention there is provided a lever release 10, shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, that is held in a locked position by sear 13 (see FIGS. 13 and 14). This design is known as a compensating release system. It allows engagement of interconnecting parts or surfaces by providing compensating part movements that ensure correct engagements when necessary.

Comparing to the previous first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-7 and 12, 13, the arms 13 are now replaced by selector 14 as is particularly shown in FIGS. 16 and 19. This design provides equal G-Force excursion on both ends.

By providing a member such as selector 14 which spans from the center to both the ends, the energy to displace the selector 14 by actuation of cam 16 (shown in FIG. 17) is reduced dramatically.

Since selector 14 is a single piece member and the G-Forces imparted to it at high speed is equal at both ends, the force needed to accomplish a small off center displacement is very minute.

In addition, the design of the lever release 10 (shown in FIGS. 14 and 15) provides a system where the movement of sear 13 can be very small indeed and in fact can be as small as 0.040″ Inches. This is much less than in the previous invention of where the sear was 0.150″ inches.

FIG. 17a shows the cam 16 having moved the selector 14 a short distance off center which disengaged sear 13 from lever 10, permitting ball 18 to move to the release position as shown in FIG. 15.

It is noted that in FIG. 17a, lever 10 and sear 13 are in their normal position aa shown in FIG. 14 which prevents balls from being released.

Spring 11 returns lever 10 to its locked position as shown in FIGS. 14 and 17b.

FIGS. 17a and 17b show a dimension X2. This dimension is the movement of the cam 16. It is a small movement necessary to accomplish the projectile release.

FIG. 17b shows the cam 16 in the center position, ensuring selector 14 does not engage either of the levers 10 via the sears 13 and preventing the release of the projectiles.

In FIGS. 14 and 15 the tension of spring 11 is most critical, and the mass of sear 13 as is also shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 is also very critical. For instance, FIG. 15 shows lever 10 in the open position. If the mass of sear 13 shown in FIG. 15 is too great, it will prevent lever 10 from returning to it's closed position as shown in FIG. 14. This undesirable sequence of events will allow the projectiles to be released out of control and damage the housing and weapon itself. Therefore, it is most critical for spring 11 and sear 13 to be and have accurate spring tension and correct mass for the sear.

The improved, second, embodiment of a projectile release mechanism in accordance with the present invention therefore provides a unique releasing system that requires little mechanical effort to release the projectiles regardless of the rotational speed of housing member 17 and very little cam engagement to effect projectile release. It is advantage and object of the present invention that regardless of the size of the projectile, only a small amount of movement is required for the cam 16 to effect projectile release, whereas the previous invention required a cam engagement movement of at least ½ the projectile diameter. Therefore, if a projectile diameter of 0.500″ inches was to be used, the cam engagement movement of 0.250″ inches would have to be employed. This would make it impossible to release large projectiles at high speeds.

The second embodiment of the trigger release mechanism in accordance with the present invention is thus not restricted in its performance by either high G-forces or projectile sizes.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide additional projectile capacity within the rotating member 17, ensuring a greater supply of projectiles for discharging prior to re-feeding the system.

A yet still further object, and option, to the present invention would be to provide an air evacuating system (not shown) which would otherwise cause a vibration to the tips of the rotating member 17 thereby reducing stress and possible material fatigue.

This air evacuating can be in a number of forms but the main object of this invention is to acknowledge that it exists and there are a number of known methods that can be used to eliminate the compressed air problem that could otherwise impeded the system from operating at high speed.

The magazine system contemplated is for use in the centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention is similar to a conventional paint ball hopper for a paint ball gun. It uses a battery operated rotational disc with small upwardly extending segments which during its rotation channel the balls through a section with an exit downwards. The speed of the feed is adjusted electronically. Or, alternatively, a hopper system with a vibratory motor can be used. In general the feeding of spherical projectiles is within the known prior art, and within the abilities of a practitioner of the mechanical arts.

Considering once again FIGS. 13-17, and in particular FIG. 17, the same practitioner will recognize that the disc 1 need not be an actual physical disc, but need only duplicate the function of a rotating disk. In fact the preferred “disk” is a single member that has section C, a groove 6 and an exit 9 at each end. In other words, the most preferred embodiment of the centrifugal gun is a dual exit firing system. This is the embodiment illustrated in side plan view in FIG. 10.

Now, as the disc speeds up and achieves high rpm the G-Forces on bearings 4 (shown in FIG. 6) become tremendous and cam ring 8 (also shown in FIG. 4) becomes very difficult to actuate. Accordingly, the balls cannot be easily released, or even released at all. Various cam designs can be sued to improve projectile (ball) release. However, once ejection velocity reaches around 800 feet per second, a cam-based ejection control system is at its limit. The rotating bearings 4 provide such powerful G-Forces that the cam ring 8 acts like it is trying to dislodge a solid wall. The higher the RPM the more difficult it becomes to actuate the cam ring 8.

Accordingly, the original embodiment of FIGS. 1-9 was for relatively lower projectile ejection velocities and, most commonly, less than lethal applications of the centrifugal gun.

This limitation is completely overcome by the improved, second, embodiment of the trigger release mechanism in accordance with the present invention as is shown in FIGS. 13-17. Using a dual exit system, the members 3 (shown in FIG. 4) of the previous, first, embodiment are now attached to each other so it becomes single member able to release either ball alternatively as the cam 8 is actuated.

This improvement overcomes the G-Force problem because as one end is cammed out of its center position this displacement is aided by the mass at the other end. Effectively all the trigger mechanism is trying to dislodge against the G-Forces is about 3 to 5 percent of the actual mass. This improvement permits ejection of projectiles at, depending upon gun diameter and speed, very much greater velocities than heretofore, and at velocities equal to or greater than bullets of like caliber.

A top plan view of a preferred lock arm, interactive with the rotating assembly previously seen in FIGS. 1, et. seq, for controlling a loading of projectile balls in the improved, second embodiment of a projectile release trigger mechanism for a centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 18. This lock arm serves the objective of automatically re-loading the centrifugal gun but to have the re-loading sequence to take place only once the rotating member 17 (shown in FIGS. 11-12, and elsewhere) has slowed down.

FIG. 18a shows lock arm 31 being held rearwards by spring 3. At a pre-determined low rpm lock members 31 will permit balls to load and to enter into cavity entrance 33. However, once the member 17 increases it's rotation to a very high rpm, the G forces exerted induce the lock arm 31 to move forward from the center, thereby blocking the feeding of any additional balls while the centrifugal gun is operating at high speed and discharging the balls.

Because the member 17 is capable of generating high G forces, it is not practical to allow free ball loading capabilities. The weapon discharges balls at a far greater rate than can be loaded, therefore, if balls were to be allowed to enter cavity entrance 33 during a high speed cycle, the balls would accelerate at such a high rate as to cause damage to Lever 10 (shown in FIG. 10) and render the centrifugal gun inoperable.

This controlled loading sequence is controlled electronically, which senses that all the balls have departed member 17, slows down the rotation of member 17, allowing locks 31 to return to the open position shown in FIG. 18b, permitting the re-loading cycle to commence once again. Once reloading is complete, the electronic sensor (not shown) instructs member 17 to once again speed up it's pre-programmed high speed and is ready to fire the projectiles as desired.

A practitioner of the mechanical arts will recognize that, one the principle of minimizing cycling inertial mass within a centrifugal gun, and particularly within it trigger mechanism, is recognized, there are many ways of accomplishing the task. For example, yet another improved part to the projectile release trigger mechanism of the centrifugal gun in accordance with the present invention is shown in another, third, variant embodiment in FIG. 19, consisting of FIGS. 19a and 19b, and in FIG. 20, consisting of FIGS. 20a and 20b.

FIG. 19, consisting of FIGS. 19a and 19b, are respective top and side plan views of a centrifugal gun having an improved, third embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism in accordance with the present invention in a first, projectile-release-obstructing, position.

FIG. 20, consisting of FIGS. 20a and 20b, are respective top and side plan views of a centrifugal gun with the improved, third embodiment, projectile release trigger mechanism in accordance with the present invention previously seen in FIG. 19, this third embodiment of the release mechanism now in a second, projectile-releasing, position.

In both Figures it may be recognized that an arm 13 that is now of a new form cycles minimally in position in order to release projectiles.

6. Discussion of the Specific Capabilities of the Weapon

This invention together with its projectiles of potentially custom design is a quantum leap in small arms development. It is totally safe to the operator, does not draw return fire, and offers a silent and toxic-free system capable of safe continuous sustained fire without any jamming or the replacement of costly parts due to thermal wear common to all conventional weapon systems.

The weapon 1 is continuously operative over a broad range of rotational speeds. The rotational speed is, of course, determinate of both (1) the number of projectiles ejected per unit time, and (2) the ejection velocity of these projectiles. Rotational speed and force of the prime mover, or motor, 203 (shown in FIG. 8) may be varied in a range between (1) essentially zero, where but few projectiles infrequently dribble from the weapon with essentially zero ejection velocity, and (2) a high rate of speed where multiplicities of more than 10 projectiles each minute are ejected from the weapon at speeds greater than 100 feet per second. Thus both a velocity, and a rate, of projectile ejection from the weapon 1 are continuously variable with change in the rotational speed of the prime mover, or motor, 203.

Acceleration of the projectiles is gradual, and without appreciable shock of the projectile, or bullet, as is manifestly typical of firearms. If a projectile is to be “smart”, and to contain computer and/or sensor electronics—as is manifestly permitted by projectiles ranging to one inch diameter in the weapon 1 of the present invention—then the gradual projectile acceleration within the weapon 1 is high beneficial to not damaging these electronics while still maintaining full projectile speed and lethality.

In accordance with these and other possible variations and adaptations of the present invention, the scope of the invention should be determined in accordance with the following claims, only, and not solely in accordance with that embodiment within which the invention has been taught.