Title:
Camouflage shelter having a collapsible self-supporting subframe
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A camouflage shelter (1) has a collapsible self-supporting subframe (3), which is assembled from a lattice of poles (4), which are coupled in an articulated manner at their ends and form scissor-like pairs. The poles (4) are rotatably connected at their intersections (7). The camouflage shelter (1) has a camouflage net (8) arranged loosely over outer bearing points (5) of the subframe (3) and consisting of a polyester mesh with a perforated structure, incorporated metal fibers and a coating which contains absorbent pigments.



Inventors:
Hexels, Gerd (Nettetal, DE)
Application Number:
09/800293
Publication Date:
09/20/2001
Filing Date:
03/05/2001
Assignee:
HEXELS GERD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/80.1, 135/122
International Classes:
D04B21/12; F41H3/00; F41H3/02; (IPC1-7): E04B1/32; E04B1/342; E04B7/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, CHI Q
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS & BUJOLD, P.L.L.C. (CONCORD, NH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A camouflage shelter (1) having a collapsible self-supporting subframe (3), which is assembled from a lattice of poles (4), which are coupled in an articulated manner at their ends and forming scissor-like pairs, the poles (4) being rotatably connected at their intersections (7), and having a camouflage net (8) arranged loosely over outer bearing points (5) of this subframe (3) and formed from a polyester mesh with a perforated structure, incorporated metal fibers and a coating that contains absorbent pigments.

2. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the camouflage net (8) for the camouflage shelter (1) is printed on each of its surfaces with a camouflage print for visual camouflage, the camouflage print having a different pattern on one of the surfaces from the camouflage print on the other of the surfaces of the camouflage net (8).

3. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 1, wherein a fabric or a tarpaulin 10 can be secured to inner bearing points (6) of the subframe (3) to protect the interior against precipitation, wind or the like.

4. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the camouflage net (8) has eye-like apertures (13).

5. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 3, wherein the fabric or tarpaulin 10 has eye-like apertures.

6. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least the lower external bearing points (5), in the properly assembled state of the subframe (3), have securing devices (12).

7. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least the upper internal bearing points (6), in the properly assembled state of the subframe (3), have securing devices (12).

8. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 4, wherein the eye-like apertures (13) in the camouflage net (8) and/or the eye-like apertures in the fabric or the tarpaulin (10) can be at least partially secured to the securing devices (12).

9. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 4, wherein the securing devices (12) each have at least one threaded element (18), provided with a twist knob (17) and one bearing element (15), the twist knob (17) having a larger diameter than the respective eye-like aperture (13) made in the camouflage net (8) and/or the fabric or the tarpaulin (10), and the threaded element (18) having a smaller diameter than the respective aperture.

10. The camouflage shelter as claimed in claim 9, wherein the eye-like apertures (13) in the camouflage net (8) and/or the eye-like apertures in the fabric or the tarpaulin (10) can be jammed between the twist knob (17) and the bearing element (15) when the securing devices (12) are used as intended.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to a camouflage shelter having a collapsible self-supporting subframe.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] U.S. Pat. No. 3,968,808 has disclosed a collapsible, self-supporting structure which is constructed from a lattice of poles that are coupled at their ends in an articulated manner and form scissor-like pairs, at the intersections of which the poles are rotatably connected. The lattice in this case consists of numerous such pairs, each of which forms inner and outer end points and bearing points at which, in each case, groups of radially extending poles are rotatably coupled to one another. The outer bearing points lie on a surface of rotation or element of a surface of rotation, such as, for example, a section of a sphere. The inner bearing points lie on a surface comparable thereto and extending parallel at a distance.

[0003] Such a structure can be packed very small and forms a mobile unit which can be assembled very quickly, easily and simply, without major effort, in that the ends of the structure in question are pulled apart, the lattice thus unfolding and forming the stable, self-supporting structure. Various geometrical shapes of the overall structure are possible here, though hemispherical constructions or constructions in the nature of a tunnel section have proven their value as regards high stability.

[0004] These constructions are used as a tent or roofing, the material forming the roofing or the tarpaulin being fixedly connected to the outer end points and bearing points so that the corresponding structure is available as a roofing or tent immediately after assembly.

[0005] DE 40 23 287 C2 has disclosed a camouflage net comprising a polyester mesh with a perforated structure. This camouflage net, because of its structure, with the holes that can have a diameter or a width and/or height of about 2 to 3 mm and whose distance from one another is approximately of the same order of magnitude, the metal fibers incorporated into the mesh, and the fact that the mesh is provided with a polymer coating on both sides containing about 30 to 40% by weight of absorbent pigments active in the range from 10 to 100 GHz, offers a very good camouflage effect.

[0006] Such a camouflage net, when used appropriately, offers a very good camouflage effect not only optically but also in the range of infrared cameras or thermal image sensors, and in the range of radar detection, especially in the millimeter and centimeter radar radiation range. The camouflage nets are positioned over appropriate stationary or mobile military equipment, such as motor vehicles, tanks or the like, and then stretched on the appropriate vehicles over supporting elements which ensure a distance between the camouflage net and the vehicle and so disguise the outline of the vehicle. In such cases, free space is formed between the camouflage net and the object to be camouflaged, permitting convective heat exchange and necessary to provide camouflage against thermal imaging equipment. This, however, results in a very complex construction which greatly restricts the mobility of the camouflaged object, especially in the case of a motor vehicle or tank.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a construction for camouflaging mobile military equipment, such as motor vehicles, tanks or weapons systems but also individuals, command posts and the like, that ensures good mobility of the corresponding military equipment, which can be quickly camouflaged and which, despite its camouflage, allows rapid reaction to hostile acts of aggression.

[0008] This object is achieved, according to the invention, in that an appropriate collapsible, self-supporting subframe, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,968,808, is combined with a camouflage net arranged loosely over this subframe as described in DE 40 23 287 C2.

[0009] The inventors have discovered the surprising and non-obvious fact that a camouflage shelter of this kind can be ideally produced from a combination of the abovementioned subframe with the abovementioned camouflage net. If the subframe is used without a tent roof or the like arranged over it, a very open construction results which is ideally suited to being covered by the corresponding camouflage net. The effect of the geometrical arrangement created by the construction, with its inner and outer bearing points, is that a distance is always ensured between the camouflage net and the object to be camouflaged, acting as a corresponding radiation source. Because of the parallel distance between the surfaces defined by the outer bearing points and those defined by the inner bearing points, at least that distance must always exist between the object to be camouflaged and the camouflage net.

[0010] It is thus possible to ensure that, because of the perforated structure of the camouflage net, appropriate heat convection can always take place, and that the metallic pigments incorporated in the camouflage net and other absorbent substances can thus produce their ideal effect.

[0011] As a result of the fact that the camouflage shelter according to the invention does not entail any permanent connection between the subframe and the camouflage net, various advantages arise. One very significant advantage lies in the fact that a subframe of this kind can always be carried, for example, on vehicles, the camouflage net, which is packed separately from the subframe and may also be stored separately, being very easily and simply adaptable to the respective areas of use, for example woodland, town, desert, winter conditions or the like. This therefore makes it possible to operate with differently printed camouflage nets for each of the different areas of use, while only relying on one of the subframes for each of the mobile equipment units.

[0012] This possibility can be ideally exploited with the camouflage shelter according to the invention, as the camouflage net used has a very small perforated structure whose holes have a diameter of only a few millimeters. When drawn over the subframe, therefore, the camouflage net cannot become hooked up on the latter or on its outer end points, as a conventional camouflage net would do. The advantage of the two-part construction with its logistical and tactical benefits can therefore only be used so simply with the combination according to the invention. The camouflage shelter according to the invention can be assembled completely independently of the object to be camouflaged, in particular a mobile military equipment item, and so offers the option of being used as a “camouflage garage”. The mobility of the camouflaged equipment and its rapid tactical reaction capability are not significantly reduced thereby in comparison with an uncamouflaged, unobstructed equipment item.

[0013] The modular assembly of the “camouflage garage” enables larger camouflage shelters comprising a plurality of individual units to be assembled. In addition to tunnel-shaped subframes of various sizes, igloo-shaped or differently assembled subframes can also be used.

[0014] If such subframes of different shapes and sizes are assembled to form a larger camouflage shelter, this results, particularly advantageously, in a very nonuniform shape or a very uneven silhouette. This very uneven and therefore more natural-seeming shape of such a large camouflage shelter consisting of a plurality of modules is very advantageous for camouflage purposes, because its unevenness makes it adapt very easily to the general natural environment and makes it less readily identifiable optically.

[0015] When used in urban surroundings, this advantage can of course be utilized in an analogous manner, as in this case it becomes possible, by using appropriately symmetrical and relatively linear constructions, by combining a plurality of subframes, to obtain a shape or silhouette which adapts very well to the customary urban scene with its frequent occurrence of straight edges.

[0016] In addition to the camouflage net described above, or alternatively instead of the camouflage net described above, it is also possible, depending on the desired disguise effect, to use a material here which is described in DE 199 52 521.8 in connection with the production of breathable protective clothing. This material can screen heat sources located under the camouflage shelter against detection with thermal imaging equipment or the like and can be used with the camouflage net or, optionally, instead of the camouflage net. It is, however, also conceivable to secure this material as a fabric or tarpaulin to the inner bearing points in order thus to achieve the protection customary in the case of a tent or the like.

[0017] Since this material permits, especially, EMC protection against electromagnetic waves and the like, it can be used effectively to prevent attempts to jam or listen in on corresponding electronically based communication or control systems installed in the camouflage shelter. In a particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention, the camouflage net in question can have a different camouflage print on one surface from that on its other surface. This gives rise to further logistical advantages, since in this case, using only one camouflage net and the subframe of which only one is needed in any case for each mobile military equipment item to be camouflaged, two different camouflages are possible. Thus, for example, very rapid reaction is possible, in the case of an operation conducted in appropriately wooded terrain, to meteorological changes such as, for example, the onset of winter and a change in the landscape caused by snowfall. Comparable advantages will also arise, for example, if operations are planned both in wooded terrain and in urban or desert surroundings. In a further very advantageous embodiment of the invention, a tarpaulin or an equivalent layer providing protection against precipitation and the effects of weather is provided at the inner bearing points of the subframe. This layer can be designed as an independent tarpaulin, which can be suspended inside this subframe as required.

[0018] As a result of the construction of the subframe, the advantage again arises here that a distance exists, in this case between the tarpaulin and the camouflage net drawn over the outer contact points of the subframe, so that all camouflage effects provided by the camouflage net, but especially those directed against thermal imaging equipment and the like, produce their full effect.

[0019] In a further highly advantageous embodiment of the invention, securing devices are attached at least to what, in the assembled state of the subframe, are the lower external or upper internal bearing points, that interact with eye-like apertures made in the net or in the fabric or tarpaulin. It is possible here to secure the camouflage net, or the fabric or tarpaulin, very quickly to the appropriate bearing points of the subframe. As a result of this very simple and effective securing option, the camouflage net, or the tarpaulin or fabric, can be secured comparatively quickly and simply, so that the assembly of an appropriate camouflage shelter in adverse conditions, such as night, mist, heavy precipitation, high wind or the like, also becomes relatively straightforward.

[0020] In principle, such securing devices are possible at all points, but they are particularly useful at the lower external bearing points and the upper internal bearing points when the subframe is assembled and used as intended. Securing the camouflage net or the tarpaulin or fabric at these bearing points enables it to be stretched. Thus, particularly advantageously, very rapid and nevertheless secure assembly can be achieved with only a few of these securing devices.

[0021] A further advantage lies in the fact that only a few of the comparatively costly and complex bearing points with the securing devices are required for each subframe.

[0022] In a further very favorable development of the invention, the securing device consists of a twist knob, provided with a threaded element, and a bearing element, the twist knob having a larger diameter than each of the eye-like apertures made in the camouflage net, or in the fabric or tarpaulin, and the threaded element having a smaller diameter than each of these apertures.

[0023] As a result of this very simple assembly, advantageously a reliable and very rapid securing of the net or fabric is achieved by clamping it between the twist knob and the bearing surface, at the respective bearing point of the subframe, which can be simply and reliably implemented even under adverse circumstances.

[0024] All these camouflage shelters described also offer the advantage of very light weight, high stability and very rapid assembly or dismantling of the camouflage shelter in question with a comparatively small deployment of operating personnel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] Further advantageous embodiments of the invention are apparent from the other dependent claims and from the example of embodiment described below with reference to the drawing, in which:

[0026] FIG. 1 shows a front view of a camouflage shelter according to the invention;

[0027] FIG. 2 shows a plan view of part of the camouflage shelter according to the invention;

[0028] FIG. 3 shows a side view of part of the camouflage shelter according to the invention; and

[0029] FIGS. 4 and 4a shows a possible method of securing the camouflage net at one of the bearing points.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] In FIG. 1, a camouflage shelter 1 can be seen, which is designed to camouflage mobile military hardware, indicated here by the box 2 drawn in dot-and-dash lines. The hardware 2 to be camouflaged may be, preferably, tactical vehicles, weapons systems or the like, but the camouflage shelter 1 can also be used to camouflage individuals, central stores depots or the like. The camouflage shelter 1 is here assembled from a subframe 3, which is designed as a collapsible selfsupporting lattice of poles 4. The poles 4 are combined at their ends to form respective groups extending radially to external end points 5 and internal end points 6 or bearing points. The poles 4 are pivotably assembled at these end or bearing points 5, 6. In between, they form scissor-like pairs, which are likewise pivotably connected to one another at their intersections 7. Such a subframe 3, known per se, can be assembled and dismantled very simply, this assembly or dismantling taking place very quickly and requiring only a minor deployment of personnel.

[0031] A camouflage net 8 is then laid over the outer end points 5, which in the example of embodiment shown here define a roughly semicircular outline. This camouflage net 8 can then be secured in a customary and conventional manner with ground pegs or the like in an area of ground 9 at the lower end of the camouflage shelter 1.

[0032] As a result of the fact that, because of the subframe 3, at least the very great majority of each of the articles of hardware 2 to be camouflaged must remain within the area defined by the inner bearing points 6, unobstructed convective heat exchange can take place between the area below the camouflage net 8 and the environment. When the camouflage net 8 is used as a polyester mesh with a perforated structure and the appropriate incorporated metallic and nonmetallic absorbent materials, this ensures that the objects 2 located under the camouflage shelter 1 remain concealed from thermal imaging equipment and radar or microwave detection equipment.

[0033] In addition to the assembly of the subframe 3 and the camouflage net 8, a tarpaulin 10 is here indicated in dotted lines at the inner bearing points 6. Owing to the assembly of the subframe 3 already described, with the inner and outer bearing points 5, 6 occurring in pairs, an intermediate space 11 thus arises between the tarpaulin 10, which protects the hardware 2 to be camouflaged against the influence of weather, precipitation or the like, in which intervening space 11 unobstructed heat convection can take place, as a result of which the satisfactory functioning of the camouflage net 8 is also made possible in conjunction with the tarpaulin 10. Both the intermediate space 11 and the distance between the individual poles 4 are so large here that the camouflage net 8 is only occasionally in contact and thus the effectiveness and protection against detection with thermal imaging equipment or the like are achieved as a result of the fact that convection can take place between the outside and the inside.

[0034] FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 each show only one area, which may represent both a complete camouflage shelter 1 and a subarea of a corresponding, larger camouflage shelter 1. The two figures have been drawn without a camouflage net 8 or tarpaulin 10 in order to make the assembly of the subframe 3 of the camouflage shelter 1 more clearly identifiable.

[0035] In FIG. 4, a securing device 12 can be seen at one of the outer bearing points 5, as arranged in at least the lower region of the subframe 3. In the case of the inner bearing points 6 (not shown), of course, the corresponding upper area, or an arrangement at virtually all bearing points, would be logical.

[0036] I n addition, FIGS. 4 and 4a shows a part of the camouflage net 8 which has an aperture 13 in the area of this securing device 12, this aperture 13 being surrounded by an eye 14. The aperture 13, or the eye 14, is matched in its diameter to the securing device 12. The camouflage net 8 is again shown in a dot-and-dash representation, mounted on the securing device 12.

[0037] In this case, an inner side 16 of the eye 14 comes to rest on a supporting element 15 and a previously removed twist knob 17 of the securing device 12 is subsequently reconnected to the supporting element 15 via a threaded element 18. The camouflage net 8 is clamped by the area of its aperture 13 or eye 14 between the twist knob 17 and the supporting element 15. A very reliable securing of the camouflage net 8 on the subframe 3 of the camouflage shelter 1 can thereby be achieved. This securing causes no problems and is simple to carry out even in adverse conditions, such as, for example, wind, mist, precipitation, darkness or the like, and additionally guarantees reliable securing of the camouflage net 8 on the subframe 3.

[0038] This type of securing is, of course, also possible in the case of the inner bearing points 6, and tarpaulin 10. As a result of an appropriate design of the eye 14, especially of its diameter or of an appropriate coating with a sealant material, waterproofing of the tarpaulin 10 of the camouflage shelter 1 can be achieved here without problems.