Title:
Launch Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The apparatus comprises: a loading device for loading projectiles for civilian use, in particular for fireworks displays, to be launched by propellant compounds, and a housing device communicating with said loading device for receiving a capsule member containing actuating elements of said propellant compounds.



Inventors:
Centrone, Giuseppe (Palata Pepoli di Crevalcore, IT)
Application Number:
11/579488
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
05/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F42B4/00; F41A19/59; F41F1/06; F42B4/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAYES, BRET C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-51. (canceled)

52. Apparatus, comprising: a loading device for loading projectiles for civilian use, in particular for firework displays, to be launched by propellant compounds, characterised in that a housing device communicating with said loading device for receiving a capsule member containing actuating elements of said propellant compounds, it is provided for.

53. Apparatus according to claim 52, wherein said loading device defines a bottom and an opposite first end.

54. Launch apparatus according to claim 52, or 53, wherein said housing device comprises at least a first hollow seat.

55. Apparatus according to claim 54, wherein there is provided a striker device of said capsule member placed at said first hollow seat.

56. Apparatus according to claim 52, wherein said actuating elements further comprise a layer of explosive power interposed between said capsule member and said projectiles to be launched.

57. Apparatus according to claim 55, wherein said actuating elements further comprise a layer of explosive power interposed between said capsule member and said projectiles to be launched.

58. Apparatus according to claim 57, wherein said striker device comprises: pin members slidably driven in an alternative manner by a wireless actuating device, between an active percussion stroke of said capsule member and a return stroke.

59. Apparatus according to claim 58, wherein an electromagnetic device arranged to receive actuating signals, receiving elements of actuating signals connected to said electromagnetic device and actuated by said pin members, are provided for.

60. Apparatus according to claim 59, wherein said electromagnetic device comprises at least a solenoid arranged to create magnetic fields such as to slide said pin members.

61. Apparatus according to claim 60, wherein said at least one solenoid is positioned at said loading device in such a way that said pin members and said first hollow seat are aligned on one another.

62. Apparatus according to claim 61, wherein said electromagnetic device further comprises a capacitor element interposed between said receiving elements and said at least one solenoid.

63. Apparatus according to claim 57, wherein said pin members is slidably driven in said active contrast percussion stroke by elastic return device.

64. Apparatus according to claim 59, wherein said receiving elements are arranged to receive actuating signals from an emitting device of actuating signals.

65. Apparatus according to claim 64, wherein said emitting device is chosen from a computer device, a camera device, an optical device, a magnetic device, an acoustic device, a luminous device, a radio device, a timer device, a radar device.

66. Apparatus according to claim 64, wherein said emitting device is arranged to emit signals according to programmed sequences and/or frequencies.

67. Apparatus according to claim 65, wherein said emitting device is arranged to emit signals according to programmed sequences and/or frequencies.

68. Apparatus according to claim 52, wherein said loading device comprises at least a mortar body.

69. Apparatus according to claim 68, wherein said at least a mortar body is supported by a support frame element.

70. Apparatus according to claim 69, wherein said support frame element comprises a box frame.

71. Apparatus according to claim 70, wherein said box frame element has a substantially parallelepipedon shape and comprises side walls, a lower wall and an upper plate which is parallel to said lower wall.

72. Apparatus according to claim 59, wherein said loading device comprises at least a mortar body supported by a box frame having a substantially parallelepipedon shape and comprising side walls, a lower wall and an upper plate which is parallel to said lower wall.

73. Apparatus according to claim 71, wherein said at least one mortar body is constrained with a constraining device on said plate and extends from the latter outwards.

74. Apparatus according to claim 68, wherein said at least one mortar body has a central longitudinal axis that is orthogonal to said plate.

75. Apparatus according to claim 71, wherein said at least one mortar body has a central longitudinal axis arranged obliquely to said plate.

76. Apparatus according to claim 73, wherein said constraining device comprises an opening obtained in said plate; a first thread obtained on internal faces of said opening; a second thread obtained outside said bottom and screwable into said first thread.

77. Apparatus according to claim 76, wherein said constraining device comprises a bayonet coupling interposed between said bottom and said opening.

78. Apparatus according to claim 53, wherein said bottom forms a protruding shank, facing said opening, equipped with said second external thread that is screwable into the latter.

79. Apparatus according to claim 76, wherein said bottom forms a protruding shank, facing said opening, equipped with said second external thread that is screwable into the latter.

80. Apparatus according to claim 72, wherein between said plate and said lower wall there is arranged a parallel intermediate wall arranged to support said electromagnetic device.

81. Apparatus according to claim 58, wherein said pin members are substantially coaxial with said first hollow seat.

82. Apparatus according to claim 80, wherein between said plate and said intermediate wall there is provided a closing and opening element of said first hollow seat.

83. Apparatus according to claim 82, wherein said closing and opening element comprises a flat element slidably supported adjacent to a lower face of said plate facing inside said box frame and equipped with at least one small through hole and a large through hole alternatively alignable or misalignable on said first hollow seat.

84. Apparatus according to claim 83, wherein said small through hole is smaller than said capsule member and said large through hole is larger than said capsule member.

85. Apparatus according to claim 71, wherein said plate is hinged on at least one of said side walls to rotate to outside of said box frame.

86. Apparatus according to claim 53 wherein said first end is closed with a removable cap when a projectile to be launched is loaded into said loading device.

87. Apparatus according to claim 53, wherein said loading device comprises at least a mortar body.

88. Apparatus according to claim 68, wherein said at least one mortar body is internally provided with an internal chamber.

89. Apparatus according to claim 87, wherein said at least one mortar body is internally provided with an internal chamber.

90. Apparatus according to claim 89, wherein said internal chamber has perimeter walls tilted and diverging towards said first end.

91. Apparatus according to claim 88 wherein said internal chamber has smooth internal walls.

92. Apparatus according to claim 54 wherein said first hollow seat is obtained in a centred position in said bottom.

93. Apparatus according to claim 72 wherein said first hollow seat is obtained in said plate.

94. Apparatus according to claim 71, wherein between said plate and a flat element a locking element of the reciprocal sliding is provided.

95. Apparatus according to claim 94, wherein said locking element comprises: through holes obtained respectively in said top wall and in said flat element, a key element insertable in said through holes in a configuration aligned on one another.

96. Apparatus according to claim 83, wherein said pin members traverse said small through holes when these are substantially aligned on said first hollow seat.

97. Apparatus according to claim 94, wherein said plate and said flat element are mounted on a motor unit arranged to rotate them.

98. Apparatus according to claim 94 wherein said plate and said flat element are disc-shaped.

99. Apparatus according to claim 97, wherein said motor unit comprises a motor-driven shaft element protruding from said motor unit facing said plate and arranged to support at least said flat element splined thereupon.

100. Apparatus according to claim 94, wherein said flat element has large through holes arranged according to at least a first circumference distribution having a first radius.

101. Apparatus according to claim 100, wherein said plate has a hollow seat element arranged according to a second circumference distribution having a second radius substantially coinciding with said first radius and arranged to contain said capsule means.

102. Apparatus according to claim 84, wherein said plate and said flat element are reciprocally connected by a connecting device.

103. Apparatus according to claim 102, wherein said connecting device is arranged to enable angular rotations of a few degrees between said plate and said flat element.

104. Apparatus according to any claim 99, wherein said plate, said flat element, said motor unit, said shaft element are housed inside said box frame.

105. Apparatus according to claim 104, wherein said box frame has an upper closing wall arranged parallel to said plate.

106. Apparatus according to claim 105, wherein said closing wall has at least one window alignable in a manner that is substantially coaxial with at least an internal chamber of a mortar body.

107. Apparatus according to claim 97, wherein said motor unit is of the type with controlled drive for alternatively aligning mortar bodies with said window according to subsequent or programmed rotation steps.

108. Apparatus according to claim 106, wherein said solenoid is supported by a support device on said intermediate wall in a position aligned on said window.

Description:

The invention relates to a launch apparatus.

In numerous civilian applications devices are used that are suitable for the launch of different types of projectile into the sky.

These projectiles are constructed for the purpose for which they are to be used and have dimensions that differ from one another: the devices arranged for their launch must, therefore, also have dimensions and mechanical structures that are different from one another and such as to adapt to the type of projectile to be launched. A known launch device comprises one or more pipes or mortar tubes, inside which a respective projectile is placed to be launched.

Each projectile consists of a shell that contains the material to be launched, of a charge of launch powders made up together with the shell in a wrapping that is normally of paper.

The launch of a projectile occurs by igniting the charge of launch powders that explode and thus supply the propulsive force for the shell; ignition of the launch powders occurs by means of electric igniters actuated by a command.

Each electric igniter comprises a tubular body at an end of which a head for ignition by incandescence is provided that is supplied with a pair of wires that extends inside and beyond the tubular body for a suitable length to reach a power plant provided with pairs of connecting terminals.

The ignition head of the electric igniter is generally inserted directly into the charge of launch powders of a projectile during assembly of the latter or it is connected to a fuse that, in turn, is inserted into the charge of launch powders already during assembly of the projectile.

When the igniter receives an electric pulse from the command power plant, the ignition head ignites, directly igniting in the first case the launch powders and in the second case the fuse, which in turn ignites the latter.

Known launch devices generally comprise a great number of launch tubes that are combined together, whether they are used for example to remove birds from a zone in which they cannot be or to launch fireworks.

An example of zones in which birds cannot be, are airports because, as is known, if birds are accidentally sucked up inside the engines of aircraft, especially when the latter are subjected to maximum stress during the take-off phase, the engines may suddenly lose power and the aeroplane may risk having to abort the task or even risk falling to the ground.

For this reason, removal of the birds is currently achieved by arranging along the runways a great number of launch devices, each one of which comprises a significant number of launch pipes inside which projectiles are placed that have shells loaded with explosive materials so that, when they are launched into the sky, the igniting launch powders raise the shells to a preset height and then explode, detonated by a fuse provided for that purpose, producing a loud noise or a coloured and very bright cloud of smoke: in both cases the birds are frightened and are made to move away from the area.

Owing to the natural instinct of the birds to return to their previously chosen haunts as soon as the brief effect of the detonation has ceased, or the cloud of smoke has scattered, to keep these zones clear, it is indispensable to launch projectiles at a certain frequency, cyclically reloading the launch devices.

When the latter are used in the pyrotechnic sector, they must be able both to launch a high number of projectiles to obtain the desired effects and to make the launches according to preset time sequences and intervals, for example to follow the rhythm of a preset musical accompaniment that accompanies a fireworks show.

Furthermore, the launch devices must be secure, both when they are used and when they are transported.

Currently, the preparation, positioning and activation of the launch devices require the intervention of a considerable number of operators who have to load the projectiles into the launch devices and connect the latter with the power plants, which are provided with terminals connecting each pair of wires to each electric igniter.

The power plant is, in turn, connected to a control apparatus that is manoeuvrable by an operator, by operating which the launches of the projectiles of each launch apparatus are actuated.

Actuation of the launch devices thus requires the drawing up and positioning of a large number of electric wires.

This state of the art has certain drawbacks.

A first drawback is that when the launch devices are numerous to cover a vast operating zone from which it is necessary to remove birds, the mass of electric wires to handle and to arrange for the connections between the igniters and the power plants becomes significant and requires, as already said, the intervention or more than one operator assigned to this work: this adversely affects the total costs of use of the known launch devices.

Another drawback is that the launch devices are generally placed over long distances, reaching, in the case of take-off and landing runways of airports, several kilometres: the lengths of connecting wires are therefore proportionally great and their positioning requires fatiguing and repeated displacements of operators between the power plants and the different launch devices.

Another drawback is that if the number of wires necessary for the connections between the electric igniters and the control panels is high, and if the distances to be covered are significant, the cost of the igniters and of the wires becomes noticeable.

Another drawback is that known launch devices are constructed, as said previously, with specific structural features, that are determined by the uses for which they are intended and are not able to launch projectiles that are different from those for which they were constructed.

For example, with a launch device designed to launch projectiles arranged to dissuade birds, it is not possible to launch projectiles for pyrotechnical use or for launching confetti and vice versa.

A further drawback is that known launch devices do not enable it to be ascertained with certainty whether the launch of a projectile occurred correctly without proceeding to a direct inspection of the launch device, with serious danger for those performing this operation if a projectile has remained inside a launch device although the launch command has been given.

Another drawback is that by using known launch devices, it is very difficult to make planned launch sequences because in order to obtain these sequences it is necessary to set up power plants equipped with a large number of pairs of terminals for attaching all the terminal ends of numerous pairs of wires that come from all the igniters of all the launch devices used.

Another drawback is that in order to be able to be launched with known launch devices, the projectiles have to be prepared in a complete manner and already ready to be launched, i.e. with the electric igniters or with the fuses connected to the electric igniters already inserted in the launch charges of the projectiles; therefore, transport of the latter from the factories to the places of use is very dangerous because the electric igniters may sometimes, in the presence of particular climatic factors, spontaneously ignite, causing sudden and devastating explosions that cause the demolition of structures and the injury and death of operators.

The object of the invention is to improve the state of the art. An object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that is usable for many uses without requiring any structural adaptation.

Another object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that does not require connections by means of wires between projectiles and power plants.

A further object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that enables launches to be made according to preset or presettable sequences.

A further object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that enables it to be ascertained easily and without risk to operators whether the launch of a projectile has occurred correctly.

Another object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that enables it to be remotely actuated, individually or with other models of the same type, using a single control unit, e.g. a computer.

Another object of the invention is to make a launch apparatus that can operate with projectiles that are actuatable only at the moment of the launch, whilst during their assembly and transport, they can remain substantially inert, considerably increasing the safety of operators.

According to an aspect of the invention there is provided an apparatus, comprising: loading means for loading projectiles for civilian use, in particular for fireworks displays, to be launched by propellant means, characterised in that communicating with said loading means there is provided housing means for receiving capsule means containing actuating means of said propellant means.

The apparatus thus enables projectiles intended for civilian and different use to be launched with a single apparatus following, when required, preset launch sequences; the apparatus furthermore enables projectiles to be launched for civilian use to be transported that are substantially inert until the moment of launch.

The apparatus can furthermore be remote-controlled without cable connections having to be made by electric igniters and connecting power plants.

Further features and advantages will become clearer from the disclosure of an embodiment of an apparatus, illustrated by way of non-limitative example, in the attached tables of drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic longitudinal section view of an apparatus for launching projectiles for civilian use, taken along a plane I-I in FIG. 4;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view on an enlarged scale of a detail of the launch apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary schematic view of an enlarged detail of the launch apparatus in FIG. 1 and in which signal emitting means are visible;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view from above of the launch apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic longitudinal section view of a launch apparatus, taken along a plane I-I of FIG. 4 in a second possible embodiment;

FIG. 6 shows a fragmentary view of a launch apparatus placed in a tilted position;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a launch apparatus in a third possible embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view of a vertical section of the launch device in FIG. 7, taken along a plane VIII-VIII;

FIG. 9 is a vertical section view of a fourth possible embodiment of a launch apparatus;

FIG. 10 is fragmentary transverse section view of an upper portion of the launch apparatus in FIG. 9, taken along a plane X-X.

With particular reference to FIG. 1, 1 indicates a launch apparatus that comprises a series of mortar bodies 6 for containing projectiles 2 to be launched.

The latter comprise a shell 308b and a base in which a volume 308a of launch powder is contained.

The mortar bodies 6 define an internal chamber 7 that has smooth walls and which are normally parallel to one another, a bottom 307 and an opposite open first end 107; in the proximity of the bottom 307 there is arranged an explosive capsule 9, known hereinafter as “capsule” 9 for the sake of brevity, which is housed in a hollow seat 40 that, in the embodiment of the launch apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6, is obtained in the bottom 307, in a substantially centred position thereof.

The capsule 9 is actuatable by means of a striker member 13 that is mounted slidable on the inside of a solenoid 114; the latter is positioned axially aligned on the corresponding hollow seat 40 and is supported in this position, as will be better disclosed below.

If required by particular launch needs, also an additional layer 308 of launch powder can be placed between the explosive capsule 9 and the projectile 2.

The solenoid 114 is actuatable by means of signals coming from a wireless emitter 309 and received by a command element 15 comprising, for example, an electronic card 115 connected to the latter; as visible in FIG. 3, the emitter 309 can be controlled by a device that is in itself known, such as, for example, computer “C” or a camera “T” or also a photocell “F”, to emit signals that are received by the solenoid 114, which creates a magnetic field such as to move the striker member 13 to the capsule 9 to hit it and make it explode.

As is also visible in FIG. 3, the striker member 13, when it moves towards the capsule 9 to hit it, axially crosses the solenoid 114 and is contrasted in its movement by an elastic return spring 313 that is interposed between the solenoid 114 and an abutment 314 mounted on the striker member 13; in the case illustrated, the spring 313 is wound around an end of the striker member 13, turned in an opposite direction to the capsule 9.

The launch apparatus 1 may be fitted, together with other identical parts, as shown in FIG. 1, on a box frame 3 that has a substantially parallelepipedon shape and which has side walls 22 and a lower wall 23 and is closed at the top by a plate 30.

Between the plate 30 and the lower wall 23 there is arranged an intermediate wall 103 on which all the solenoids 114 are constrained, which are in turn connected to the electronic card 115; the intermediate wall 103 has passage openings 24 at each of the latter to enable the passage of each respective striker member 13.

Each mortar body 6 is constrained on the plate 30 with constraining means that comprises an opening 4 obtained in the plate 30 and equipped, for example, with an internal thread 5 and with a further thread obtained perimeterally on the outside of the mortar body 6 at the bottom 307 in such a way as to make the latter screwable into the respective opening 4 and connected to the plate 30.

According to an alternative embodiment, the constraint means may comprise a bayonet fitting, not illustrated in the drawings because known to those skilled in the art, interposed between the bottom 307 and the respective opening 4 in which a mortar body 6 has to be inserted and fixed.

According to a further embodiment, which is also not shown because known to those skilled in the art, the constraint means may comprise a snap fitting, placed between the bottom 307 and the respective opening 4.

Between the plate 30 and the intermediate wall 103 there is provided a flat element 10 designed to run on a lower face 118 of the plate 30 facing the intermediate wall 103 and supported on the latter by brackets 25.

This flat element 10 is slidable in relation to the plate 30 and is provided with small through holes 26 and with larger through holes 126 that are alternatively alignable or misalignable with the hollow seats 40, in such a way as to open or close them partially, or if required, completely: in this case none of the small through holes 26 or large through holes 126 is aligned on the hollow seats 40.

The small holes 26 have smaller dimensions than the dimensions of the capsules 9 whereas the large holes 126 have greater dimensions than those of the capsules 9.

As the through holes 26 have dimensions such as to be noticeably smaller than the capsules 9, even when they are aligned on the hollow seats 40, they enable both the support of the capsules 9 on the edges that delimit them, retaining them therein and the passage of the tips of the respective striker members 13.

The plate 30 is hinged with hinges 27 on one of the side walls 22 of the box frame 3 to enable its rotation and therefore access to the inside of the latter for the operations of loading of the capsule 9 into the respective hollow seats 40. According to another embodiment of the launch device 1, illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, each bottom 307 forms a raised shank 8 that extends to the respective opening 4; the shank 8 is threaded on the perimeter with a thread 105 that is screwable into the latter and is axially crossed by a passage 211.

In this case, the seat 40 in which the capsule 9 is placed is obtained inside the shank 8, coaxially with the passage 211. Each first end 107 is closable after a projectile 2 to be launched has been inserted through the first end 107 into the respective mortar body 6, with a removable cap 28 that is dragged away when the projectile 2 is launched.

According to the embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 illustrated in FIG. 1, each solenoid 114 is connected to a capacitor 29, which is in turn connected to the electronic card 115; by means of the latter nearly all the capacitors 29 are loaded and actuated in such a way as to supply the pulses to the solenoids 114 according to set sequences, for example from a launch execution programme installed in a computer “C”. According to a further embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 illustrated in FIG. 6, which is usable to launch in tilted directions the projectiles 2 to be launched, the shank 8 that extends from the bottom 307, can be screwed into a seat 41 obtained inside a tilted base 321 that protrudes above the plate 30.

In the embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 illustrated in FIG. 7, the opening 4 is obtained directly in the plate 30. The opening 4 has a third open end 104 and a fourth open end 204, opposite said third end 104.

On the third open end 104, a mortar body 6 is fittable and fixable, for example by means of a thread 5.

The mortar body 6 is equipped, on the face of the bottom 307 facing the opening 4, with the shank 8 threaded externally to screw into the third end 104 of the opening 4 by means of the thread 5.

In the embodiment of the launch apparatus illustrated in FIG. 7, the plate 30 is mounted slidably in the frame 3 on suitable guides 150 and in it there is obtained, as an extension of the opening 4, but on the opposite side to the plate 30, substantially corresponding coaxially with the opening 4, a hollow seat 40 inside which the capsule 9 is insertable.

Immediately below the plate 30, the flat element 10 is slidably mounted that, also in this case, can slide in substantial contact with the lower face 118 of the plate 30 and which at the hollow seat 40, is traversed by a large through hole 126 that, when the flat element 10 is completely inserted into the frame 3, is substantially aligned to the hollow seat 40, or slightly out of alignment in relation to the latter.

Also the plate 30, like the flat element 10, is slidable along the frame 3: when both are slid to the outside of the frame 3 to be extracted, the hollow seat 40 is made accessible from outside to load or substitute the capsule 9.

The flat element 10 is in turn slidable in relation to the plate 30 and, as said before, when it is inserted completely into the frame 3, the hollow seat 40 is slightly misaligned in relation to the large through hole 126: in this way, a part of the perimeter edge that delimits it, provides a support and retaining lip for the base of the capsule 9, albeit without completely closing the passage between the hollow seat 40 and the large hole 126, so as to enable the striker member 13, when it is actuated, to reach the capsule 9.

Between the plate 30 and the flat element 10 there is provided an element 20 for locking reciprocal sliding.

The element 20 comprises a key 16 that is fittable in corresponding holes 17 and 19 obtained respectively in the plate 30 of the frame 3 and in the flat element 10, when the holes 17 and 19 are in a configuration aligned vertically on one another.

In another embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, the launch apparatus 1 comprises a box-shaped frame 3, which is formed by an upper wall 3a traversed by at least a window 203, by side walls 22 and by a lower wall 23. The upper wall 3a is removable or simply openable as indicated by the arrow A to access the inside of the box frame 3.

Inside the latter there is mounted on supports 205 an intermediate wall 103, which is parallel to the upper wall 3a and which supports, substantially centred, a vertical shaft 206 rotatably driven by a motor unit 207, the latter also is supported on the intermediate wall 103, for example by means of brackets 208; the motor unit 207 is of the type with indexed rotation, according to angles of a preset amplitude.

Onto the shaft 206 there is fitted with gap and in such a way as to pass through a central opening 18 a circular plate 30 that is rotatingly supported on a flat element 10, which is also circular in shape, parallel to it, that is splined on the shaft 206 and which is fixed to it by means of a screwed knob 223 so as to rotate with it.

The flat element 10 is affected by a series of large through holes 126 that are arranged according to a circular distribution that has a first radius of preset length; in the plate 30 corresponding hollow seats 40 are obtained, these also being arranged according to a circular distribution, having a second radius with a preset length and which is substantially the same as that of the first radius, in such a way as to be able to align the hollow seats 40 on the large through holes 126: both the latter and the hollow seats 40 are obtained spaced apart at equal distribution distances.

The intermediate wall 103 supports in an eccentric position, and more precisely at a vertical position of the large through holes 126 and of the hollow seats 40, a striker member 13 that is actuated with a solenoid 114; this is actuatable by means of a control element, indicated by 15, which pulses reach from an external wireless-type emitting device 309 which can be connected, for example to a camera, or to a remote control, or via cable to a switch or to other devices that are not shown because they are known to those skilled in the art.

In each hollow seat 40 a capsule 9 containing explosive material is insertable; on the top end of each hollow seat 40 there is defined an opening 4 equipped with internal threading 5 in which a shank 8 is screwable that extends raised from a bottom 307 of a corresponding mortar body 6, which defines, inside itself, an internal cavity 7 that has, as in the previously disclosed embodiments, smooth walls and which is suitable for receiving a projectile 2 to launch that is loaded through a first open end 107 of the mortar body 6.

The shank 8 is axially traversed by a gap 221 that connects the internal cavity 7 to the respective hollow seat 40.

It should be noted that the flat element 10, being supported on the plate 30, for example by means of bracket elements 230, is rotatingly driven simultaneously to the latter by the motor unit 207: nevertheless, the flat element 10 is also rotatable by a few degrees in relation to the plate 30, as shown in detail in FIG. 3, so that the edges of the hollow seats 40 of the flat element 10 provide the capsules 9 with a sort of segment support lip 222 to prevent the latter falling out of the respective hollow seats 40.

The operation of the launch apparatus in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6 is as follows: one or more launch apparatuses 1 mounted on respective support frames 3 are located in preset zones to carry out the launches.

In the case of pyrotechnic use, it is important to note that the projectiles. 2 to be launched can be conveyed before the launches with relative security, it not being necessary to make assemble them providing conventional electric igniters already mounted inside them: in fact, the explosive action is provided by the caps 9 only when they are hit by the respective striker members 13.

In order to load the explosive capsules 9 into the respective first hollow seats 40, an operator rotates the plate 30 in such a way as to be able to access the inside of the box frame 3; on the plate 30 a preset number of mortar bodies 6 is constrained, for example by screwing the shanks 8 into the respective openings 4.

When the plate 30 is rotated in relation to the frame 3, the operator slides the flat element 10 along the face 118, until the larger through holes 126 of the latter are aligned on the first hollow seats 40: in this position, the operator can insert the explosive capsules 9 into them.

He then slides the flat element 10 in such a way as to align the smaller through holes 26 on the first hollow seats 40 or, if the launches do not have to be carried out within a short time and it is therefore necessary to keep both the launch apparatuses 1 secure, slides the flat element 10 in such a way as to keep both the small through holes 26 and the large through holes 126 misaligned in relation to the first hollow seats 40, i.e. in such a way that the full body of the flat element 10 shuts it, thus preventing accidental percussion actions of the striker members 13 on the capsules 9.

The operator, after completing loading of the capsules 9 into the respective first hollow seats 40, recloses the plate 30 and, in order to arrange the launch apparatuses 1 for launching, slides the flat element 10 by for example acting on pickup handles provided precisely for the purpose protruding from the latter, in such a way as to align only the small through holes 26 on the first hollow seats 40.

In this configuration, the capsules 9 are retained inside the respective first hollow seats 40 as, the small through seats 26 being smaller than the capsules 9, the latter rest on the edges of the small through holes 26 without traversing them; simultaneously, the passage remains open for the striker members 13 through the small though holes 26.

The operator then proceeds to place inside each mortar body 6 the corresponding projectile 2 to be launched through the first end 107, then reclosing it with the cover 28.

The operator can then move away from the launch apparatuses 1 that are ready to launch the projectiles 2 and goes to a safety zone far from them, in which a control device is arranged, for example a computer “C”, and activates therewith the remote signal emitter 309; these signals are received by the electronic card 115 and from the latter they are transmitted to the single solenoids 114.

The striker members 13 are made to perform a capsule 9 percussion stroke by the magnetic fields generated by the solenoids 114; the percussion stroke occurs by overcoming the contrast action of the contrast springs 313.

When a striker member 13 knocks against a corresponding capsule 9, said striker member 13 causes said capsule 9 to explode without any connection with wires being necessary; the explosion ignites the propellant powders that are normally inserted inside the projectile 2 to be launched during their assembly; the corresponding projectile is then launched to the sky through the first end 107, dragging with it the respective cover 28.

The absence of the latter from a first end 107 of a mortar body 6 thus clearly indicates to the operators, and without the need for them to move dangerously near it, that a launch has occurred correctly and that there is no unexploded projectile 2 in it.

It is to be pointed out that it is possible to programme the signals to the different solenoids 114 that make up one or more launch apparatuses 1, in such a way that they actuate launches with preset sequences in order to be able to follow programmed patterns or schedules.

If the features of a projectile 2 to be launched are such as to require an increase of the propulsive thrust, for example when it is very heavy, it is possible to interpose in the internal chamber 7, between the projectile 2 and the bottom 307, a layer 308 of launch powder that is ignited when the corresponding capsule 9 explodes, increasing the action of the launch powders normally inserted inside the projectiles 2.

The remote signal emitter 309, in another form of use of the launch apparatus 1, for example for removing birds, can be a camera “T” which, when it detects the presence of birds in a zone to be protected, automatically actuates the emitter 309, which in turn actuates one or more of the solenoids 114, actuating the corresponding striker members 13 and causing the launch of one or more projectiles 2.

Similarly, the camera “T” can be replaced by a photocell “F” or by another device that is in itself known.

It should be noted that in order to arrange and maintain in a correct position the projectiles 2 to be launched in the internal chambers 7, the perimeter walls of the latter can be tilted and converging towards the bottom 307.

The operation of the launch apparatus in the possible embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 is as follows: the capsules 9 are loaded into the respective hollow seats 40 by extracting from the frame 3 both the plate 30 and the flat element 10.

In order to load the capsules 9 without their falling, the flat element 10 is slid in relation to the plate 30 in such a way as to reciprocally misalign the hollow seats 40 and the large through holes 126 so as to create with the flat element 10 a sort of bottom suitable for supporting the caps 9 inside the respective hollow seats 40.

After loading of the capsules 9 has been completed, both the plate and the flat element 10 are reinserted inside the frame 3, maintaining the misalignment until the hollow seats 40 are aligned on the respective striker members 13.

The plate 30 and the flat element 10 are locked in this position by reinserting the key 16 in the coaxially aligned holes 17 and 19.

A projectile 2 is then placed in the containing chamber 7 and when the solenoid 114 is actuated by the control element 15, i.e. by the electronic card 115, for example by a pulse coming from a bird-detection element, the striker member 13 hits the capsule 9, making it explode.

The propulsive force produced by the explosion of the capsule 9 is projected through the gap 221 and primes the launch powder usually contained in a projectile 2, igniting it and activating the thrust that launches the projectile 2 towards the sky.

The projectile 2 is prepared in such a way as to in turn explode when it reaches a preset height, producing, for example, a loud noise that frightens the birds that are in the zone surrounding the launch device 1, scattering them.

Also in this embodiment, if the sole propulsive force supplied by the capsule 9 is not sufficient to launch a particularly heavy projectile 2, the launch powder layer is added to the internal chamber 7 between the projectile 2 and the bottom 307; when the capsule 9 is exploded, this ignites the layer 308 of launch powder, which, by exploding, provides an increase in propulsive force beyond what is provided by the launch powder present in a projectile 2 to be launched.

Also in this embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 it is possible to programme the succession of launches of projectiles 2, activating a preset sequence of pulses sent to the various solenoids 114.

Operation of the embodiment of the launch apparatus 1 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 is as follows: each mortar body 6 is loaded with projectiles 2 by inserting them into the internal chambers 7 through the first end 107; the capsules 9 are loaded by opening the top wall 30a and unscrewing the threaded knob 223; this frees access to the plate 30 and to the flat element 10 supported on it; both are then extracted from the box frame 3 and if necessary the capsules 9 that were already previously fired are first unloaded and subsequently the new capsules 9 are inserted inside the respective hollow seats 40; when loading is complete, the plate 30, which has a circular shape, is rotated in relation to the flat element 10 by an angle of a few degrees such that the edges of the large through holes 126 of the flat element 10 provide a sort of base support plane 222 that retains the capsules 9 inside the respective hollow seats 40.

The flat element 10 and the plate 30 are refitted on the shaft 206 and the latter is rotationally locked on the shaft 206 by tightening the screw knob 223.

The plate 30 and the flat element 10 are connected together by brackets 230 that enable reciprocal angular rotations of a few degrees.

The upper closing wall 3a is then reclosed that has the window 203 that is vertically aligned both on one of the mortar bodies 6 and on the striker member 13.

When a pulse is sent to the control means 15, the signal is sent from the latter that actuates the solenoid 114, which, in turn, actuates the striker member 13 that hits the capsule 9, making it explode and causing the launch of the projectile 2 through the through opening 203 towards the sky, as disclosed for the previous embodiments of the launch apparatus.

By actuating the motor unit 207, which is of the type with controlled motion, for example indexed rotating, this makes the plate 30 rotate by an angle suitable for carrying a new mortar body 6 that is adjacent or at least different from the one located at the opening 203 and at the striker member 13, from which the preceding projectile was launched.

A further pulse sent to the control means 15 causes the launch of a further projectile 2; this sequence is repeated for all the projectiles contained in the mortar bodies 6.

The rotation steps of the motor unit 207 are programmable and it is therefore possible to preset the sequence of launches of projectiles 2, according to specific needs.

Furthermore, if the mortar bodies 6 are devoid of covers 28, the upper wall 3a protects from inclement weather the projectiles 2 loaded inside the internal chambers 7 of the respective mortar bodies 6, except for the projectile 2 that is aligned on the through opening 203.