Title:
Device for Penetrating and Exploding a Target
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lethality device includes a penetrator structure configured to penetrate a target and an incendiary material disposed near the penetrator structure. The incendiary material self-ignites and is injected into the target after penetration of the target. A projectile includes a penetrator structure configured to penetrate a target, an incendiary material disposed near the penetrator structure, and one or components other than the penetrator structure and the incendiary material disposed aft of the penetrator structure. Loads from the one or more components are transferred to the penetrator structure upon impact with the target. The incendiary material self-ignites and is injected into the target after penetration of the target. A method for defeating a target containing an ignitable material includes broaching or puncturing an outer skin of the target, self-igniting an incendiary material, injecting the ignited incendiary material into the target, and igniting a material disposed within the target.



Inventors:
Schroeder, Wayne K. (Mansfield, TX, US)
Banks, Johnny E. (Venus, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/374222
Publication Date:
12/17/2009
Filing Date:
07/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F42B12/44
View Patent Images:



Other References:
Merriam-Webster online sictionary definition of "incendiary"; see 3b
Primary Examiner:
TROY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Beusse Wolter Sanks & Maire, P.A (Orlando, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A lethality device, comprising: a penetrator structure configured to penetrate a target; and an incendiary material disposed near the penetrator structure; wherein the incendiary material self-ignites and is injected into the target after penetration of the target.

2. The lethality device, according to claim 1, wherein the lethality device is operably associated with a projectile such that loads from one or more components of the projectile that are disposed aft of the penetrator structure are transferred to the penetrator structure upon impact with the target.

3. The lethality device, according to claim 1, wherein the incendiary material comprises a material selected from the group consisting of white phosphorous, michmetal, an explosive material, a cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine-based substance, a cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine-based substance, a pentaerythritol tetranitrate-based substance, a binary mix of fuel and oxidizer, thermite, a material containing a reactive metal, a material containing lithium, a material containing sodium, a material containing potassium, a material containing magnesium, a material containing calcium, a material containing barium, and a material containing cesium.

4. The lethality device, according to claim 1: wherein the target contains a predetermined material having a burning temperature; and the incendiary material burns at a higher temperature than the burning temperature of the predetermined material of the target.

5. A projectile, comprising: a penetrator structure configured to penetrate a target; an incendiary material disposed near the penetrator structure; and one or components other than the penetrator structure and the incendiary material disposed aft of the penetrator structure; wherein loads from the one or more components are transferred to the penetrator structure upon impact with the target; and wherein the incendiary material self-ignites and is injected into the target after penetration of the target.

6. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein the incendiary material comprises a material selected from the group consisting of white phosphorous, michmetal, an explosive material, a cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine-based substance, a cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine-based substance, a pentaerythritol tetranitrate-based substance, a binary mix of fuel and oxidizer, thermite, a material containing a reactive metal, a material containing lithium, a material containing sodium, a material containing potassium, a material containing magnesium, a material containing calcium, a material containing barium, and a material containing cesium.

7. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein the projectile is configured to defeat the target by broaching or puncturing an outer skin of the target.

8. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein the projectile is configured to defeat the target via non-hydrodynamic means.

9. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein substantially an entire weight of the projectile presses against the penetrator structure when the projectile impacts the target.

10. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein the one or more components comprises at least one component selected from the group consisting of a projectile case, an actuation system for operating a plurality of control surfaces of the projectile, a battery, and a bulkhead of the projectile.

11. The projectile, according to claim 5, wherein the one or more components comprises: a bulkhead disposed aft of the penetrator structure; a battery disposed aft of the bulkhead; an actuation system for operating a plurality of control surfaces of the projectile, the actuation system being disposed aft of the battery; and a case of the projectile disposed aft of the actuation system.

12. The projectile, according to claim 5: wherein the target contains a predetermined material having a burning temperature; and the incendiary material burns at a higher temperature than the burning temperature of the predetermined material of the target.

13. A method for defeating a target containing an ignitable material, comprising: one of broaching and puncturing an outer skin of the target; self-igniting an incendiary material; injecting the ignited incendiary material into the target; and igniting a material disposed within the target.

14. The method, according to claim 13, wherein one of broaching and puncturing the outer skin of the target is accomplished at least in part by transferring a load from a component of a projectile to a penetrator structure upon impact of the projectile and the target.

15. The method, according to claim 13, wherein one of broaching and puncturing the outer skin of the target is accomplished by urging a penetrator structure through the outer skin of the target by non-hydrodynamic means.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a device for penetrating and exploding a target.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Targets such a rockets, artillery and mortars pose a challenge to conventional lethality approaches to defeating them. Conventional means include gun-launched projectiles or warhead fragments. Both of these means rely upon large amounts of kinetic energy to penetrate the target skin with sufficient energy remaining to induce explosion. Propelling a small mass at high speed, increasing the mass of a hypersonic projectile, or a combination of both typically achieves this large amount of kinetic energy. Blast-fragmentation warheads achieve hypervelocity velocities by explosive force on the small projectiles.

Incendiary materials have been used with projectiles to increase the velocity of penetrating devices by forming a shaped charge or propelling a rod shape forward. In one conventional device, an incendiary material is used to enhance behind armor damage, but this has been with a hyper-velocity projectile and the incendiary material is packaged within a hollow cylindrical rod.

The challenge with the blast-fragmentation approach is that it requires complex and sophisticated fuzing to initiate the fragments so that some will be ensured to hit the target.

The challenge with the conventional approaches is that the high accelerations required for the projectiles to reach the needed hypervelocity speeds are not conducive to sensors and devices needed to guide the projectiles. The challenge with guided projectiles is that they reach the target at relatively low supersonic speeds where kinetic energy is low.

There are many designs of devices to penetrate and explode a target that are well known in the art; however, considerable shortcomings remain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, the invention itself, as well as a preferred mode of use, and further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which the leftmost significant digit(s) in the reference numerals denote(s) the first figure in which the respective reference numerals appear, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a stylized, cross-sectional view of a portion of a projectile incorporating one particular embodiment of a device according to the present invention for penetrating and exploding a target; and

FIGS. 2-4 are flow diagrams depicting various illustrative embodiments of a method for penetrating and exploding a target.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will of course be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

In the specification, reference may be made to the spatial relationships between various components and to the spatial orientation of various aspects of components as the devices are depicted in the attached drawings. However, as will be recognized by those skilled in the art after a complete reading of the present application, the devices, members, apparatuses, etc. described herein may be positioned in any desired orientation. Thus, the use of terms such as “above,” “below,” “upper,” “lower,” or other like terms to describe a spatial relationship between various components or to describe the spatial orientation of aspects of such components should be understood to describe a relative relationship between the components or a spatial orientation of aspects of such components, respectively, as the device described herein may be oriented in any desired direction.

The invention relates in general to a lethality device packaged within a guided missile to penetrate and cause explosion of a target and more particularly to penetrating the outer skin and subsequently raising the internal temperature and pressure of the internal contents of the target by injecting incendiary material to induce explosion.

The present invention allows a projectile of relatively moderate speed to defeat these difficult targets such as in-flight mortars. This is accomplished in a two step process. The first step is penetrating the target. The second step is injecting the incendiary material.

The first step is accomplished by designing the load path of the host missile or projectile to be transferred to a forward penetrator structure, such as a rod or pin component packaged in the nose of the missile. In this manner, substantially the entire weight of the missile puts pressure on the penetrator structure. The mechanism of the defeat is a broaching or puncturing of the outer skin. This is a structural failure by deformation rather than the hydrodynamic failure induced by hypersonic projectiles.

The second step to defeating the target is by injecting incendiary material inside the target shell. This is accomplished by momentum transfer when the incendiary material is packaged between the centrally-located penetrator structure and the outer missile nose. The incendiary material (such as thermite) is self igniting and burns at a temperature higher than that required to ignite the internal contents of a target, such as a mortar.

In one particular embodiment, shown in FIG. 1, a projectile 101 includes a penetrator structure 103, such as a rod or pin, disposed in a nose 105 of projectile 101. Disposed aft of nose 105 and penetrator structure 103 are various other systems and structures of projectile 101 for operating projectile 101. In the illustrated embodiment, a bulkhead 107 is disposed aft of penetrator structure 103. A battery 109 is disposed aft of bulkhead 107. An actuation system 111 for operating a plurality of control surfaces 113 (only one labeled in FIG. 1) is disposed aft of battery 109. A case 115 of projectile 101, as well as possibly other structure of projectile 101, is disposed aft of actuation system 111. Case 115, actuation system 111, battery 109, and bulkhead 107 are configured such that, upon impact with a target, loads from case 114, actuation system 111, battery 109, and bulkhead 107 are transferred to penetrator structure 103. Preferably, such loads are also transferred to nose 105 of projectile 101.

In other words, upon impact with a target, case 115, as well as other structure of projectile 101 disposed aft of actuation system 111, exerts pressure on actuation system 111. Moreover, actuation system 111 exerts pressure on battery 109 and battery 109 exerts pressure on bulkhead 107. Note that, if bulkheads, such as bulkhead 107 exist between other components, pressure is exerted via the bulkheads. For example, if a bulkhead, such as bulkhead 107, exists between actuation system 111 and battery 109, actuation system 111 exerts pressure on battery via the bulkhead. Bulkhead 107 exerts pressure on penetrator structure 103, and preferably on nose 105, to penetrate the target by deformation.

Once the target has been penetrated, an incendiary material is injected into the target. In the illustrated embodiment, an incendiary material 117 is disposed near penetrator structure 103, such as within a body of projectile 101 about penetrator structure 103 or within a body of projectile 101 and disposed in bulkhead holes. As penetrator structure 103 progresses into the target, incendiary material 117 self-ignites and is injected into the target to explode combustible or explosive material disposed within the target. Examples of incendiary material 117 include, but are not limited to, one or more of white phosphorous; mischmetal; an explosive material, such as a cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine-based substance (i.e., an HMX-based substance), a cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine-based substance (i.e., an RDX-based substance), a pentaerythritol tetranitrate-based substance (i.e., a PETN-based substance), and the like; and a binary mix of fuel and oxidizer, such as thermite and materials containing reactive metals, such as lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, cesium, and the like.

Thus, in one particular embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, a method of penetrating and exploding a target comprises one of broaching and puncturing an outer skin of the target (block 201), self igniting an incendiary material (block 203), injecting the incendiary material into the target (block 205), and igniting a material disposed within the target (block 207). In one embodiment, depicted in FIG. 3, one of broaching and puncturing the outer skin of the target is accomplished at least in part by transferring a load from a component of a projectile to a penetrator structure upon impact of the projectile and the target (block 301). In another embodiment, depicted in FIG. 4, one of broaching and puncturing the outer skin of the target is accomplished by urging a penetrator structure through the outer skin of the target by non-hydrodynamic means.

The present invention provides significant advantages, including: (1) providing a means for penetrating and exploding a target without the use of sophisticated fuzing techniques and (2) providing a means for penetrating and exploding a target without subjecting the projectile to high accelerations, which may impair sensors and/or other devices of the projectile.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below. It is apparent that an invention with significant advantages has been described and illustrated. Although the present invention is shown in a limited number of forms, it is not limited to just these forms, but is amenable to various changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.