Title:
Apparatus for Defeating Threat Projectiles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory, is disclosed. The armor system has a material capable of being detonated and configured to substantially retain a shape, wherein the material leads a vehicle exterior surface relative to the expected projectile trajectory. The material has a dimensional thickness that is greater than a minimum detonation thickness of the material.



Inventors:
Engleman, Gregory W. (Summerville, SC, US)
Cole, Robert A. (Johns Island, SC, US)
Borders III, Thomas E. (Summerville, SC, US)
Joynt, Vernon P. (Waterkloof, ZA)
Williams, Keith T. (Abbeville, SC, US)
White, James E. (Charleston, SC, US)
Application Number:
13/024640
Publication Date:
08/16/2012
Filing Date:
02/10/2011
Assignee:
ENGLEMAN GREGORY W.
COLE ROBERT A.
BORDERS, III THOMAS E.
JOYNT VERNON P.
WILLIAMS KEITH T.
WHITE JAMES E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
89/36.08, 89/902, 89/904, 89/930, 89/937
International Classes:
F41H5/007; F41H5/013; F41H5/04; F41H7/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TILLMAN, JR, REGINALD S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory, the armor system comprising: a material capable of being detonated and configured to substantially retain a shape; wherein the material leads a vehicle exterior surface relative to the expected projectile trajectory; and the material has a dimensional thickness that is greater than a minimum detonation thickness of the material.

2. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material is a liquid in gel form.

3. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material includes a reactive liquid.

4. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material is substantially entirely transparent.

5. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material includes one or more of ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, urea nitrate, urea, and tetranitro-isopropanol.

6. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material includes one or more of nitromethane, isopropyl nitrate, nitrobenzene, nitrogen tetroxide, and toluene.

7. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material includes a mixture of about 82% nitrogen tetroxide and about 18% toluene.

8. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the material includes a mixture of about 50% methanol and about 50% water.

9. An armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory, the armor system comprising: a module including a first element, leading relative to the expected projectile trajectory; a second element disposed behind the first element, relative to the expected projectile trajectory, wherein the first element and the second element are spaced apart to form a cavity; and an apparatus for mounting the module to the vehicle, the module leading a vehicle exterior surface relative to the expected projectile trajectory; wherein a fill capable of being detonated is disposed in the cavity; and wherein the dimensional thickness of the fill is greater than a minimum detonation thickness of the fill.

10. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes substantially only nitromethane and has a 1″ dimensional thickness.

11. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes a reactive gas.

12. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes a liquid fuel or a liquid explosive.

13. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes one or more of ether, ethylene, acetylene, and hydrogen.

14. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes a mixture of one or more reactive gases and one or more nonreactive gases.

15. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes one or more of a mixture of ether and oxygen, a mixture of ethylene and oxygen, a mixture of acetylene and oxygen, and a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.

16. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the first and second elements are sheet-like layers including one or more of glass, transparent ceramics, acrylic, polycarbonate, aluminum, delrin, UHMW PP, UHMW PE, and borosilicate.

17. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the first and second elements have a thickness of about ½″ and include substantially only borosilicate.

18. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the module is oriented at about a 45° angle from a trajectory that is substantially perpendicular to a vehicle exterior surface.

19. The armor system of claim 9, wherein each of the first and second elements include a plurality of glass sheets having a thickness of about ⅛″.

20. The armor system of claim 19, wherein each of the first and second elements further include a layer of water having a thickness of about ½″, the layer of water being disposed between the plurality of glass sheets.

21. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the fill includes one or more of nitromethane and isopropyl nitrate.

22. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the module is rotatably mounted to the vehicle as a louver.

23. The armor system of claim 9, wherein one or more of the first and second elements includes an aperture in fluid communication with the cavity and configured to receive a stopper.

24. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the cavity is fluidly connected to a passageway that is disposed within the vehicle.

25. The armor system of claim 24, wherein the passageway has an internal diameter that is less than a minimum detonation thickness of the fill.

26. The armor system of claim 24, wherein the passageway is fluidly connected to a pump that draws the fill from a fill storage reservoir and pumps the fill to the cavity.

27. An armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory, the armor system comprising: a first module and a second module, each of the first and second modules including a first layer, leading relative to the expected projectile trajectory; a second layer disposed behind the first layer, relative to the expected projectile trajectory, wherein the first layer and the second layer are spaced apart; at least one spacing element extending from the first layer to the second layer; and a cavity formed by the first layer, the second layer, and the at least one spacing element; wherein a fill including at least one of a liquid and a gas is disposed in the cavity; and wherein the first module is adjacent to the second module.

28. The armor system of claim 27, wherein a separation element is disposed between the first module and the second module.

29. The armor system of claim 28, wherein the separation element is a layer of polycarbonate material.

30. The armor system of claim 27, wherein the first and second modules are configured to be removable from the armor system and are pre-filled with the fill.

31. The armor system of claim 27, wherein the first and second modules are fluidly connected by a passageway having an internal diameter less than the minimum detonation thickness of the fill.

32. The armor system of claim 27, further including a ballistic-resistant module that leads the first and second modules, relative to the expected projectile trajectory.

33. The armor system of claim 27, further including a spall-resistant module that follows the first and second modules, relative to the expected projectile trajectory.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to an armor system that resists penetration by projectiles.

BACKGROUND

Conventional armor may be subjected to a variety of projectiles designed to defeat the armor by either penetrating the armor with a solid or jet-like object or by inducing shockwaves in the armor that are reflected in a manner to cause spalling of the armor such that an opening is formed and the penetrator (usually stuck to a portion of the armor) passes through the armor, or an inner layer of the armor spalls and is projected at high velocity without physical penetration of the armor.

Some anti-armor weapons are propelled to the outer surface of the armor, where a shaped charge explodes to form a generally linear “jet” of metal that will penetrate solid armor. Such weapons are often called Hollow Charge (“HC”) weapons. A rocket propelled grenade (“RPG”) is such a weapon. An RPG 7 is a Russian origin weapon that produces a penetrating metal jet, the tip of which hits the target at about 8000 m/s. When encountering jets at such velocities, solid metal armors behave more like liquids than solids. Irrespective of their strength, they are displaced radially and the jet penetrates the armor.

Various protection systems are effective at defeating HC jets. Amongst different systems, the best known are reactive armors that use explosives in the protection layers that detonate on being hit to break up most of the HC jet before it penetrates the target. Such systems are often augmented by what is termed “slat armor,” a plurality of metal slats disposed outside the body of the vehicle to prevent the firing circuit of an RPG from functioning.

A second type of anti-armor weapon uses a linear, heavy metal penetrator projected at a high velocity to penetrate the armor. This type of weapon is referred to as EFP (explosive formed projectile) or SFF (self forming fragment), sometimes referred to as a “pie charge” or a “plate charge.”

In some of these weapons, the warhead behaves as a hybrid of the HC and the EFP and produces a series of metal penetrators projected in line towards the target. Such a weapon will be referred to herein as a hybrid warhead. Hybrid warheads behave according to how much “jetting” or HC effect the hybrid warhead has, and up to how much of a single, large penetrator-like EFP it produces.

Another type of anti-armor weapon propels a relatively large, heavy, generally ball-shaped solid projectile (or a series of multiple projectiles) at high velocity. When the ball-shaped metal projectile(s) hits the armor, the impact induces shockwaves that reflect in a manner such that a plug-like portion of the armor is sheared from the surrounding material and is projected along the path of the metal projectile(s), with the metal projectile(s) attached thereto. Such an occurrence can, obviously, have very significant detrimental effects on the systems and personnel within a vehicle having its armor defeated in such a manner.

While the HC type weapons involve design features and materials that dictate they be manufactured by an entity having technical expertise, the latter type of weapons (EFP and Hybrid) can be constructed from materials readily available in a combat area. For that reason, and the fact that such weapons are effective, these weapons have proven troublesome to vehicles using conventional armor.

The penetration performance for the three mentioned types of warheads is normally described as the ability to penetrate a solid amount of RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armor) steel armor. Performances typical for the weapon types are: HC warheads may penetrate 1 to 3 ft thickness of RHA; EFP warheads may penetrate 1 to 6 inches of RHA; and Hybrids warheads may penetrate 2 to 12 inches of RHA. These estimates are based on the warheads weighing less than 15 lbs and being fired at their best respective optimum stand off distances. The diameter of the holes made through the first inch of RHA would be: HC up to an inch diameter hole; EFP up to a 9 inch diameter hole; and Hybrids somewhere in between. The best respective optimum stand off distances for the different charges are: an HC charge is good under 3 feet, but at 10 ft or more it is very poor; for an EFP charge a stand off distance up to 30 feet produces almost the same (good) penetration and will only fall off significantly at very large distances such as 50 yards; and for Hybrid charges penetration is good at standoff distances up to 10 ft, but after 20 feet penetration falls off significantly. The way these charges are used is determined by these standoff distances and the manner in which their effectiveness is optimized (e.g., the angles of the trajectory of the penetrator to the armor). These factors affect the design of the protection armor.

While any anti-armor projectile can be defeated by armor of sufficient strength and thickness, extra armor thickness is heavy and expensive, adds weight to the armored vehicle using it, which, in turn, places greater strain on the vehicle engine and drive train, and thus has a low “mass efficiency.”

Armor solutions that offer a weight advantage against these types of weapons can be measured in how much weight of RHA it saves when compared with the RHA needed to stop a particular weapon from penetrating. This advantage can be calculated as a protection ratio, the ratio being equal to the weight of RHA required to stop the weapon from penetrating, divided by the weight of the proposed armor system that will stop the same weapon. Such weights are calculated per unit frontal area presented in the direction of the anticipated trajectory of the weapon.

Thus, there exists a need for an armor that can defeat threats such as HC weapons without requiring excess thicknesses of armor, and thus have a favorable mass efficiency. Such armor may be made of materials that can be readily fabricated and incorporated into a vehicle design at a reasonable cost, and may be added to existing vehicles.

The present disclosure is directed to overcoming shortcomings and/or other deficiencies in existing technology.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In accordance with one aspect, the present disclosure is directed toward an armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory. The armor system includes a material capable of being detonated and configured to substantially retain a shape, wherein the material leads a vehicle exterior surface relative to the expected projectile trajectory. The material has a dimensional thickness that is greater than a minimum detonation thickness of the material.

According to another aspect, the present disclosure is directed toward an armor system for protecting a vehicle from a projectile, the projectile having an expected trajectory. The armor system has a module including a first element, leading relative to the expected projectile trajectory, and a second element disposed behind the first element, relative to the expected projectile trajectory. The first element and the second element are spaced apart to form a cavity. The armor system also has an apparatus for mounting the module to the vehicle, the module leading a vehicle exterior surface relative to the expected projectile trajectory. A fill capable of being detonated is disposed in the cavity, and the dimensional thickness of the fill is greater than a minimum detonation thickness of the fill.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary disclosed armor system;

FIG. 2 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a first exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a second exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a third exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic, plan view of a fourth exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of the fourth exemplary disclosed embodiment of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a schematic, detailed view of a fifth exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a schematic, detailed view of the armor system of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a fifth exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a sixth exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seventh exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an eighth exemplary disclosed embodiment of the armor system of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary disclosed armor subsystem of the armor system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary disclosed armor system 10 for protecting a vehicle 11 from a projectile 12 such as, for example, an HC jet, EFP, and Hybrid warhead. In the following discussion, projectile 12 has an expected trajectory 15 relative to vehicle 11. Trajectory 15 establishes a direction for understanding certain terms used in the following discussion (e.g., “leading,” “rear,” “behind,” “front,” etc.), describing the components of armor system 10 that projectile 12 successively confronts as it approaches a vehicle hull 20.

Armor system 10 may include one or more armor subsystems such as armor subsystem 25 and a distribution subsystem 30 (shown dotted) that may be disposed within hull 20. Distribution subsystem 30 may provide a fill including at least one of a liquid and a gas to armor subsystem 25 of vehicle 11. FIG. 1 also depicts additional embodiments of armor subsystems in accordance with the present disclosure, which will be described below.

As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, armor subsystem 25 may include a first layer 35, a second layer 40, and a plurality of spacing elements 45. First layer 35, second layer 40, and spacing elements 45 together may form a cavity 50 that holds a fill 55. Armor subsystem 25 may also include a mount assembly 65 for mounting armor subsystem 25 to vehicle 11.

First layer 35 may lead second layer 40 relative to trajectory 15. First layer 35 and second layer 40 may include, for example, transparent materials. First layer 35 and second layer 40 may also be, for example, sheet-like layers including material such as, for example, glass, transparent ceramics, acrylic, polycarbonate, aluminum, delrin, UHMW PP (ultra high molecular weight polypropylene), UHMW PE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene), and/or borosilicate. First layer 35 and second layer 40 may be of any suitable thickness for containing a liquid or a gas such as, for example, between about ½″ thick and about 3″ thick. For example, first layer 35 and second layer 40 may be layers having a thickness of about ½″ and including substantially only borosilicate. First layer 35 and/or second layer 40 may also include one or more apertures 67 for draining and filling cavity 50 with fill 55. Aperture 67 may be in fluid communication with cavity 50 and may be configured to receive a removable stopper 68. It is also contemplated that aperture 67 and stopper 68 may be included on other portions of armor subsystem 25 such as, for example, spacing elements 45.

Spacing elements 45 may be formed from a chemical resistant material and include any material suitable for spacing first layer 35 from second layer 40 such as, for example, delrin or UHMW PE. For example, spacing elements 45 may be delrin gaskets. Spacing elements 45 may be hollow or solid elements, and may be sealed with first layer 35 and second layer 40 by a chemical resistant sealant such as, for example, butyl rubber.

Cavity 50 may be a hollow, sealed space formed by first layer 35, second layer 40, and spacing elements 45. Cavity 50 may be partially or substantially filled by fill 55. Spacing elements 45 may space first layer 35 and second layer 40 apart to provide cavity 50 with a suitable dimensional thickness 60, as discussed below.

The fill disclosed in the below embodiments and used herein may include a material that is sufficiently reactive to be capable of detonation when exposed to a severe shock such as, for example, an impact of an HC jet from projectile 12. Although materials that are classified as “explosives” are not excluded from the fill material, it is not a requirement that the fill material be classified as “explosive” material. Fill 55 may include a reactive liquid such as, for example, a liquid explosive, catalyst, and/or accelerant. For example, fill 55 may include a fuel such as methanol, or a clear liquid explosive such as nitromethane. Fill 55 may also be a reactive liquid such as, for example, isopropyl nitrate, nitrobenzene, nitrogen tetroxide, and/or toluene. For example, fill 55 may include nitrobenzene having a detonation velocity of about 7,300 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure). Additionally, for example, fill 55 may include a mixture of about 82% nitrogen tetroxide and about 18% toluene, and may have a detonation velocity of about 8,100 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure). Also, for example, fill 55 may include an insensitive, colorless liquid such as isopropyl nitrate having a detonation velocity of about 5,400 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure). Fill 55 may also be a liquid in a highly viscous form such as, for example, gel form. Cavity 50 may provide fill 55 with a suitable dimensional thickness 60 such as, for example between about 1″ and about 8″, between about 1″ and about 6″, and between about 1½″ and about 4″. Thickness 60 may be any sufficient thickness to support a continuous detonation of fill 55 following an initial detonation of fill 55 by a tip and/or jet of projectile 12. The sufficient dimensional thickness to support continuous detonation may be larger than the “Minimum Detonation Thickness” (MDT), which may vary from explosive to explosive based on a given explosive's sensitivity to shockwaves. Dimensional thickness 60 may be greater than an MDT of fill 55. For example, fill 55 may have a 1″ dimensional thickness when fill 55 includes substantially only nitromethane, based on MDT. Fill 55 may also include a nonreactive liquid such as, for example, water. Fill 55 may additionally include a mixture of one or more reactive liquids and one or more nonreactive liquids such as, for example, a mixture of fuel and water. For example, fill 55 may be a mixture of about 50% methanol and about 50% water, which may be substantially resistant to freezing at cold temperatures in the field and may keep interior surfaces of layers 35 and 40 substantially clean. Also, fill 55 may include transparent liquids and may be substantially transparent.

Fill 55 may also include a reactive gas such as, for example, ether, ethylene, acetylene, and/or hydrogen. Fill 55 may include a reactive gaseous mixture having a lower detonation velocity relative to reactive liquid mixtures. Fill 55 may also include a fuel that is at a gaseous state at ambient temperatures, e.g., at room temperature. Fill 55 may also include a mixture of one or more reactive gases and one or more nonreactive gases. For example, fill 55 may include a mixture of ether and oxygen having a detonation velocity of about 2,300 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure), a mixture of ethylene and oxygen having a detonation velocity of about 2,423 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure), a mixture of acetylene and oxygen having a detonation velocity of about 2,900 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure), and/or a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen having a detonation velocity of about 3,800 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure). It is contemplated that the detonation velocities of reactive gases in fill 55 may be increased by pressurizing cavity 50 above a pressure of 1 atm. For example, fill 55 may include a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen that is pressurized, for example, at between about 1.4 atm and about 2.7 atm (between about 20 psi and about 40 psi). Fill 55 including a pressurized mixture of hydrogen and oxygen may provide a detonation velocity of greater than about 3,800 m/s. Also, for example, fill 55 may include an ideal gas pressurized at about 30 psi, and containing about three times more mass and energy than the same ideal gas may contain when unpressurized. Also, fill 55 may include transparent gases and may be substantially transparent.

Referring back to FIG. 1, armor subsystem 25 may be mounted to vehicle 11 by a mounting apparatus such as, for example, mount assembly 65. Mount assembly 65 may include a mount 75, a hinge 80, and a frame 85. Mount 75 may be operably connected to hinge 80, which may be connected to armor subsystem 25 by any suitable means known in the art. For example, armor subsystem 25 may be framed by a structural frame 85 on which hinge 80 is rotatably mounted. Armor subsystem 25 may thus be rotated about hinge 80. Mount 75 may also be raised or lowered about a pivot point 90. Therefore, armor subsystem 25 may be adjusted as a louver system in front of an exterior surface 70 of vehicle 11, as depicted in FIG. 2. Armor subsystem 25 may be adjusted by mount assembly 65 by any suitable means in the art. For example, mount assembly 65 may be manually adjusted by an operator, or may be mechanically adjusted by a motor 95. Armor subsystem 25 may be configured to adjust to provide clearance for the various systems of vehicle 11 such as, for example, emergency egress windows and antennas. Armor subsystem 25 may be used to provide additional protection at any suitable location of vehicle 11 such as, for example, additional protection for transparent armor of windows of vehicle 11 and additional perimeter protection for opaque armor on a side of vehicle 11.

As depicted in FIG. 2, armor subsystem 25 may be rotatably mounted via mount assembly 65 at an angle 100, relative to trajectory 15, where trajectory 15 may be substantially perpendicular to vehicle exterior surface 70. Armor subsystem 25 may be rotatably adjusted so that angle 100 is oriented, for example, at about 30°, 45°, 60°, or 90°.

FIGS. 1 and 3 depict a second embodiment, armor subsystem 125, of armor system 10. As best seen in FIG. 3, armor subsystem 125 may include a first element 130, a second element 135, and a plurality of spacing elements 140. First element 130, second element 135, and spacing elements 140 may form a cavity 145 that holds a fill 150. Armor subsystem 125 may also include a mount assembly similar to mount assembly 65 of armor subsystem 25. Spacing elements 140 may be similar to spacing elements 45 of armor subsystem 25, and cavity 145 may be similar to cavity 50 of armor subsystem 25.

First element 130 may lead second element 135 relative to trajectory 15. First element 130 may include a plurality of layers 155 and an intermediate layer 160 that may be disposed between layers 155. Layers 155 may be sheet-like layers including material such as, for example, glass, transparent ceramics, acrylic, polycarbonate, aluminum, delrin, UHMW PP, UHMW PE, and/or borosilicate. Layers 155 may be suitable thin-walled layers for containing a liquid or a gas. For example, layers 155 may be glass sheets having a thickness of about ⅛″. Intermediate layer 160 may include a nonreactive liquid or gas. For example, intermediate layer 160 may include a nonreactive liquid such as, for example, water. It is also contemplated that intermediate layer 160 may include a reactive liquid or gas. Intermediate layer 160 may have any suitable thickness for an armored layer such as, for example, between about ⅛″ and about 6″. For example, intermediate layer 160 may have a thickness of about ½″. Second element 135 may include a plurality of layers 165 and an intermediate layer 170 that may be disposed between layers 165. Layers 165 of second element 135 may be similar to layers 155 of first element 130, and intermediate layer 170 of second element 135 may be similar to intermediate layer 160 of first element 130, respectively. It is contemplated that armor subsystem 125 may be mounted at an exterior of vehicle 11, as a louver as shown in FIG. 1, and/or as a window module in a shaped aperture of vehicle 11, as discussed henceforth in relation to armor subsystem 225.

Returning to FIG. 3, first element 130 and/or second element 135 may also include one or more apertures 175, each configured to receive a removable stopper 180. Aperture 175 and stopper 180 may be similar to aperture 67 and stopper 68, respectively, of armor subsystem 25. It is also contemplated that aperture 175 and stopper 180 may be included on other portions of armor subsystem 125 such as, for example, spacing elements 140.

Fill 150 may include a reactive and/or nonreactive liquid or gas, and may be similar to fill 55 of armor subsystem 25. For example, fill 150 may include a reactive liquid such as, for example, nitromethane and/or isopropyl nitrate. Fill 150 may have a dimensional thickness 185 that is greater than an MDT of fill 150.

FIGS. 1 and 4 depict a third embodiment, armor subsystem 225, of armor system 10. Referring to FIG. 4, armor subsystem 225 may include a layer 230, at least one transparent armor layer 235, at least one seal 240, and at least one frame element 245. Layer 230, transparent armor layer 235, and seal 240 may be supported by frame element 245 and may form a cavity 250 that holds a fill 255.

Layer 230 may lead transparent armor layers 235 relative to trajectory 15, and layer 230 may be similar to first layer 35 and second layer 40 of armor subsystem 25. To facilitate use in a window of vehicle 11, layer 230 may include a transparent material. Layer 230 may be spaced apart from the at least one transparent armor layer 235.

The one or more transparent armor layers 235 may include glass, transparent ceramics, acrylic, polycarbonate, and/or borosilicate. Transparent armor layer 235 may be of any suitable thickness such as, for example, between about ⅛″ and about 6″ thick.

The one or more seals 240 may include materials similar to spacing elements 45 of armor subsystem 25. For example, the one or more seals 240 may include a single gasket or a plurality of seals. The one or more seals 240 may form a seal between layer 230, transparent armor layers 235, and one or more frame elements 245 to seal fill 255 within cavity 250. For example, seal 240 may be a single rubber gasket that surrounds and seals layer 230 and transparent armor layers 235, and fits within frame element 245. Frame element 245 may support armor subsystem 225 within a shaped aperture 260 of vehicle 11. Shaped aperture 260 may extend into an interior of vehicle 11. Thus, armor subsystem 225 may provide a transparent armored window for vehicle 11, as shown in FIG. 1, but may also be used in a louver configuration as shown in armor subsystems 25 and 125. Seal 240 and/or frame 245 may include one or more apertures 265 and stoppers 270, for draining and/or filling fill 255 in cavity 250. Apertures 265 and stoppers 270 may be similar to aperture 67 and stopper 68 of armor subsystem 25.

Fill 255 may be similar to fill 55 of armor subsystem 25. Fill 255 may include a reactive or nonreactive liquid or gas. For example, fill 255 may include substantially only nitromethane and may have a thickness such as, for example, 1½″. Alternatively, fill 255 may include, for example, substantially only isopropyl nitrate. Fill 255 may have a dimensional thickness 272 that is greater than an MDT of fill 255.

FIGS. 1, 5, and 6 depict a fourth embodiment, armor subsystem 325, of armor system 10. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, armor subsystem 325 may include a modular array 330, a support system 335 for providing structural support to modular array 330, and a filling system 340 for providing modular array 330 with fill.

As depicted in FIG. 6, which is a sectional view of FIG. 5, modular array 330 may include a ballistic module 345, a plurality of fill modules 350, and a spall module 355. Ballistic module 345 may provide protection against ballistic threats to vehicle 11, fill modules 350 may provide additional protection against threats to vehicle 11, and spall module 355 may provide protection against spalling of armor system 10. Ballistic module 345, fill modules 350, and spall module 355 may be connected by any suitable technique known in the art such as, for example, by welding or by mechanical fasteners.

Ballistic module 345 may be a ballistic-resistant layer that leads fill modules 350 relative to trajectory 15, and may include a plurality of layers 360 and 365. Layers 360 and 365 may be of any suitable material and thickness for resisting ballistic threats to vehicle 11. For example, layers 360 and 365 may include high strength metals such as aluminum, copper, steel, stainless steel, magnesium, molybdenum, copper, zirconium, titanium, nickel, and other high strength materials such as glass fiber and polymer. Layers 360 and 365 may have any thickness suitable for ballistic protection such as, for example, a thickness of between about ⅛″ and about 4″.

Fill modules 350 may follow ballistic module 345 relative to trajectory 15, and may lead spall module 355 relative to trajectory 15. Each fill module 350 may include a first layer 370 and a second layer 375. First layer 370 and second layer 375 may seal together to form a cavity 380 that holds a fill 385. First layer 370, second layer 375, cavity 380, and fill 385 may be similar to first layer 35, second layer 40, cavity 50, and fill 55, respectively, of armor subsystem 25. Each fill module 350 may be an individual cell containing fill 385. Fill modules 350 may be disposed adjacently to each other in armor subsystem 325. Fill 385 may have a dimensional thickness 388 that is greater than an MDT of fill 385.

Spall module 355 may be a spall-resistant layer that follows fill modules 350 relative to trajectory 15. Spall module 355 may have a layer 390 that includes similar materials and has a similar thickness as layers 360 and 365 of ballistic module 345.

Support system 335 may include a separation element 395 and a frame 400. Separation element 395 may support fill modules 350 within frame 400.

Separation element 395 may be any suitable material for insulating fill modules 350 from adjacent threat detonations such as, for example, a polycarbonate material. Separation element may be disposed between fill modules 350, and may also include transparent materials. Separation element 395 may be a thin layer separating fill modules 350, and thereby substantially reduce sympathetic detonation of a given fill module 350 in the case that an adjacent fill module 350 detonates due to impact of a threat projectile. It is contemplated that fill modules 350 may be removably attachable from armor subsystem 325, thereby allowing compromised fill modules 350 to be replaced with new fill modules 350 within a combat area.

Frame 400 may include any suitable material for structurally supporting armor subsystem 325 such as, for example, structural steel or aluminum. Referring back to FIG. 1, frame 400 may be configured to mount armor subsystem 325 within an aperture of vehicle 11 as a window, or may be mounted to an exterior of vehicle 11, for example, as a louver. Fill modules 350 may be sealed against frame 400 by a seal 405 that may include similar materials as seal 240 of armor subsystem 225.

As depicted in FIG. 5, filling system 340 may include a plurality of passageways 410 and a plurality of valves 415. Passageways 410 may connect adjacent fill modules 350 to facilitate filling of fill modules 350 with fill 385. Passageways 410 may have an internal diameter that is less than an MDT of a given fill 385. Valves 415 may be disposed in passageways 410 to substantially prevent leakage from fill modules 350 that may be compromised by threat projectiles. Valves 415 may be any valve suitable for substantially reducing leakage such as, for example, one-way check valves. Thus, filling system 340 may facilitate filling fill modules 350 simultaneously via passageways 410, and may prevent leakage from compromised fill modules 350 via valves 415.

FIG. 7 depicts an alternative embodiment, fill module 420, of armor subsystem 325. Fill module 420 may be similar to fill module 350, and may include a cavity 425 having a fill 430, which may be similar to cavity 380 and fill 385, respectively, of fill module 350. Materials and thicknesses of fill module 420 may be selected in order to substantially minimize aberrations due to differences in material properties (e.g., differences in the index of refraction) between the various materials included in fill module 420. Fill modules 420 may be configured to be removably attachable to armor subsystem 325. Fill modules 420 may be pre-filled with fill 430 during manufacturing. Thus, a given pre-filled module 420 may be removed from frame 400 if it becomes compromised, and replaced with a new pre-filled module 420.

FIG. 8 illustrates an exploded view of armor subsystem 325, which depicts a length 435 of fill module 350. Keyholes 440 and 445 are also depicted, which may result from an impact of projectile 12 into armor subsystem 325 along trajectory 15. Length 435 may be at least twice as large as a length of keyholes 440 and 445. As projectile 12 travels along a projected path 450, keyhole 440 may be formed in layer 360 and layer 365, and keyhole 445 may be formed in layer 390. Keyholes 440 and 445 may be formed because layers of armor subsystem 325 may shift with respect to each other as projectile 12 impacts armor subsystem 325. For example, as projectile 12 impacts, layers 360 and 365 may shift upward, thereby causing keyhole 440 to have a keyhole shape as projectile 12 passes through moving layers 360 and 365. Keyhole 445 may be similarly formed.

FIGS. 1 and 9 depict a fifth embodiment, armor subsystem 525, of armor system 10. As best seen in FIG. 9, armor subsystem 525 may include a material 550 having a dimensional thickness 560. Armor subsystem 525 may also include a mount assembly for mounting armor subsystem 525 to vehicle 11. Material 550 may include a reactive and/or nonreactive liquid or gas, and may include materials similar to fill 55 of armor subsystem 25. Material 550 may be a liquid in a highly viscous form such as, for example, gel form. Material 550 may be a gelled block of material having dimensional thickness 560. Material 550 may be gelled such that it may substantially retain a shape such as, for example, a block shape having thickness 560, without being contained in a housing or confined between structural elements. Material 550 may include any suitable material such as, for example, substantially entirely transparent materials.

Material 550 may disrupt a projectile such as, for example, an HC jet of projectile 12. Dimensional thickness 560 may be large enough to exceed a minimum detonation thickness (MDT) of material 550, which may include reactive material, such that material 550 may react to disrupt the jet of projectile 12. An appropriate dimensional thickness 560 may vary based on, for example, a type of reactive material included within material 550 and/or a volume of material 550. Dimensional thickness 560 may be greater than an MDT of material 550. A shape and/or material types of material 550 and/or a value of thickness 560 may be sized such that material 550 reacts over a duration of time that is sufficient to disrupt an entire jet of projectile 12. For example, material 550 may have a sufficient size and be of a sufficient material to react relatively gradually as a jet is encountered, such that the reaction lasts long enough to disrupt an entire jet of projectile 12. For example, thickness 560 may be of a relatively large thickness such as, for example, between about 1″ and about 6″, between about 1″ and about 12″, or in excess of 12″, depending on the material and geometric properties of material 550 such as, for example, the minimum detonation thickness of material 550.

FIGS. 1 and 10 depict a sixth embodiment, armor subsystem 625, of armor system 10. As best seen in FIG. 10, armor subsystem 625 may include a housing 640 and a material 650 having a dimensional thickness 660. Armor subsystem 625 may also include a mount assembly for mounting armor subsystem 625 to vehicle 11. Material 650 and thickness 660 may be similar to material 550 and thickness 560 of armor subsystem 525, respectively. Material 650 may be in a gelled form or in a non-gelled form. Material 650 may be housed in housing 640. Dimensional thickness 660 may be greater than an MDT of material 650.

Housing 640 may be a thin-walled vessel suitable for containing a gelled and/or a non-gelled material. Housing 640 may be formed from a single element, or may be formed from several elements that are attached by any suitable method such as, for example, by welding. Housing 640 may include thin walls such as, for example, about ¾″, about ½″, about ⅜″, about ¼″, about ⅛″, about 1/16″, about 3/32″, about 1/32″, and/or about 1/64″.

FIGS. 1 and 11 depict a seventh embodiment, armor subsystem 725, of armor system 10. As best seen in FIG. 11, armor subsystem 725 may include a first layer 735, a second layer 740, and a plurality of spacing elements 745. First layer 735, second layer 740, and spacing elements 745 together may form a cavity 750 that holds a fill 755. Armor subsystem 725 may also include a mount assembly for mounting armor subsystem 725 to vehicle 11. Spacing elements 745 may be similar to spacing elements 45 of armor subsystem 25. Cavity 750 may be similar to cavity 50 of armor subsystem 25. Cavity 750 may have a dimensional thickness 760 that may be sized similarly to thickness 60 of armor subsystem 25.

First layer 735 and second layer 740 may be similar to first layer 35 and second layer 40 of armor subsystem 25. First layer 735 and second layer 740 may include, for example, opaque materials. First layer 735 and/or second layer 740 may also include one or more apertures 767 for draining and filling cavity 750 with fill 755. Aperture 767 may be similar to aperture 67 of armor subsystem 25, and may include a stopper 768 that may be similar to stopper 68 of armor subsystem 25.

Fill 755 may include, for example, opaque reactive materials. Fill 755 may include relatively insensitive explosives with detonation velocities of about 4,000 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure) to about 7,000 m/s (at about 1 atm pressure). For example, fill 755 may include materials such as ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, urea nitrate, urea, and tetranitro-isopropanol. Fill 755 may also include mixtures of one or more of these materials with fuels and/or sensitizers. Dimensional thickness 760 may be greater than an MDT of fill 755, and may support a continuation detonation of fill 755 following an initial detonation of fill 755 by a tip and/or jet of projectile 12. A shock sensitivity of fill 755 may depend on, for example, a degree of pressurization and/or confinement of fill 755 within cavity 750 and/or the material properties and proportions of materials included in fill 755. Fill 755 may include materials which, although not classified as explosives, may behave as explosives when exposed to a severe shock such as, for example, the impact of an HC jet from projectile 12. A shape and/or material types of fill 755 and/or a value of dimensional thickness 760 may be sized such that fill 755 reacts over a predetermined length of time that is sufficient to disrupt an entire jet of projectile 12.

Fill 755 may also be a gelled material that may retain a shape such as a block shape similar to material 550 of armor subsystem 525. Fill 755 may thereby retain a shape without being contained in a housing or between structural elements. Fill 755 may additionally be a gelled or non-gelled material that may be housed in a thin-walled vessel similar to housing 640 of armor subsystem 625.

FIGS. 1 and 12 depict an eighth embodiment, armor subsystem 825, of armor system 10. As best seen in FIG. 12, armor subsystem 825 may include a first layer 835, a second layer 840, and a plurality of spacing elements 845. First layer 835, second layer 840, and spacing elements 845 together may form a cavity 850 that has a thickness 860 and holds a fill 855 of thickness 860. The elements of armor subsystem 825 may be similar to the elements of armor subsystem 725. Dimensional thickness 860 may be greater than an MDT of fill 855.

Armor subsystem 825 may be an armor panel that is attached to hull 20 of vehicle 11. For example, an exterior surface 865 of second layer 840 may be attached to an exterior surface of hull 20 by any method suitable in the art such as, for example, mechanical fasteners, welding, and/or adhesives.

FIG. 13 depicts distribution subsystem 30 that may be disposed within an interior portion of vehicle 11. Distribution subsystem 30 may include a pump 455, a plurality of passageways 460, a fill reservoir 465, and a waste reservoir 470. Pump 455 may pressurize and pump liquid such as fills 55, 150, 255, 385, 650, 755, and/or 855 from fill reservoir 465 and through passageways 460.

Pump 455 may be any suitable pump known in the art such as, for example, a piston type pump or an impeller type pump. Pump 455 may be driven, for example, via a crankshaft from an engine of vehicle 11 or by an independent power source. Pump 455 may be fluidly connected to the plurality of passageways 460 and fill reservoir 465, and may draw fill from fill reservoir 465.

Passageways 460 may be disposed in an interior portion of vehicle 11 such as, for example, a vehicle spine. Passageways 460 may be housed in a protective jacket that may provide protection from external threats such as, for example, bullets, shrapnel, mine blasts, HC jets, and EFP projectiles. Passageways 460 may have an internal diameter that is less than an MDT of the fill that is being transferred. For example, passageways 460 may be a stainless steel tube having an internal diameter of about ¼″, if the MDT of the fill is greater than ¼″. The plurality of passageways 460 may fluidly connect pump 455 with the armor subsystems of vehicle 11 such as armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825. Thus, distribution subsystem 30 may drain and re-fill armor system 10 with fill upon demand.

Fill reservoir 465 may be a protected reservoir for storing fill such as fills 55, 150, 255, 385, 650, 755, and/or 855 and for supplying the fill to pump 455. Fill reservoir 465 may include a reinforced and/or armored lining to resist penetration by ballistics and other threats. Fill reservoir 465 may include sufficient fill to iteratively fill cavities 50, 145, 250, 380, 750, and/or 850 and/or housing 640 numerous times during a given operation time of vehicle 11. It is contemplated that fill reservoir 465 may have an elongated shape and have an internal diameter that is less than an MDT of a stored fill.

Waste reservoir 470 may be a protected reservoir similar to fill reservoir 465. Waste reservoir 470 may be fluidly connected to armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 625, 725, and/or 825 via drainage passageways (not shown) that may be similar to passageways 460. Fill may be drained from armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 625, 725, and/or 825 and delivered to waste reservoir 470 via the drainage passageways. The drainage passageways and/or passageways 460 may include check valves to control flow of fill during drainage and filling of armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 625, 725, and/or 825 during an operation of distribution subsystem 30.

Armor system 10 may be included in newly manufactured vehicles and existing vehicles may be retrofitted with armor system 10 to gain the benefits described herein. For example, an existing vehicle may be retrofitted with subsystems 25, 30, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825 using an assemblage of required parts specific to the vehicle, e.g., in kit form.

A vehicle may include any combination of the subsystems of armor system 10 including, for example, armor subsystems 25, 30, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825. For example, armor subsystems 25, 30, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825 may be used in combination with each other, as additional armor within a window aperture, as a louver or a system of louvers, and/or as additional perimeter protection for opaque armor. On a given vehicle, some or all of armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825 may be used in conjunction with distribution subsystem 30. It is also contemplated that any of the materials of fills 55, 150, 255, 385, 430, 550, 650, 755, and/or 855 may be used in any of armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825. It is further contemplated that the disclosed elements of armor subsystems 25, 30, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825 may be used with any of the other disclosed armor subsystems.

Vehicle 11, equipped with armor system 10, may operate outside of a combat area. For example, vehicle 11 may move under its own power or be transported for example, by aircraft or rail. While outside of a combat area and/or during transport, armor system 10 may be configured to be in a non-hostile mode. For example, mount assembly 65 may be operated so that armor subsystem 25 is propped up or folded down as needed during transport or storage. Mounts of armor subsystems 125 and 325 may be similarly operated. Also, for example, stoppers 68, 180, 270, and/or 768 may be removed from armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, and/or 725, respectively, to drain reactive fill from vehicle 11 and thereby preclude “special handling” requirements for operators during transport and other activities outside of a combat area. Distribution subsystem 30 may also be operated to transfer fill from the cavities of the various armor subsystems to waste reservoir 470. Reactive fill may be removed from waste reservoir 470, thereby precluding “special handling” requirements outside of a combat area. Additionally, fill modules 420 may be removed from vehicle 11 when outside of a combat area. It is contemplated that substantially all fill may be removed from vehicle 11 when in the non-hostile mode.

When vehicle 11 moves toward a combat area or other threat environment, armor system 10 may be configured to be in a hostile mode. Fill may be added to cavities and reservoirs of vehicle 11. For example, mount assemblies may be configured so that armor subsystems 25, 125, 325, 525, 625, and/or 725 are adjusted to a suitable position for disrupting threat projectiles. Armor subsystems 25, 125, 325, 525, 625, and/or 725 may be adjusted so that angle 100 is, for example, about 30° or about 45°. Also, for example, fill may be added to the cavities of the armor subsystems, and stoppers 68, 180, 270, and/or 768 may be replaced into apertures 67, 175, 265, and/or 767 of armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, and/or 725, respectively. Distribution subsystem 30 may also be operated to transfer fill from fill reservoir 465 to the cavities of the various armor subsystems. Additionally, fill modules 420 may be placed into armor subsystem 325 of vehicle 11. While vehicle 11 is in the field, fill may be manually drained and re-filled, or mechanically drained and re-filled by distribution subsystem 30, into cavities 50, 145, 250, 380, 750, and/or 850 and/or housing 640. Fill may be drained and re-filled, for example, if an armor subsystem is compromised, the fill becomes contaminated, or the fill begins to chemically break down from its intended properties.

During the hostile mode, as depicted in FIG. 8, a projectile may be directed toward vehicle 11 and may impact armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 525, 625, 725, and/or 825. If the projectile penetrates the armor subsystems and enters cavities 50, 145, 250, 380, 425, 725, and/or 825, material 550, and/or housing 640, the projectile will detonate reactive fill disposed in the cavities. The reactive fill will detonate and disrupt the penetration of the projectile. The material properties of armor system 10 will contribute to the disruption of the projectile. For example, armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 420, 625, 750, and/or 850 including glass and/or polycarbonate layers will shatter upon detonation of the fill, causing a debris field that will disrupt a projectile jet. Material 550 of armor subsystem 525 will continuously detonate over substantially an entire duration of impact of an HC jet of projectile 12, thereby substantially completely disrupting the jet. Armor subsystems 25, 125, 225, 325, 420, 625, 725, and/or 825 including aluminum and/or delrin layers will propel the aluminum and/or delrin layers into the projectile threat upon detonation of the fill, causing a debris field that will disrupt the projectile jet. If a given module of armor subsystem 325 is compromised by a projectile, separation element 395 will substantially reduce the threat of sympathetic detonation to adjacent modules, and valves 415 will substantially prevent leakage of fill from adjacent modules.

Between engagements with threats during the hostile mode, armor system 10 may be reconstituted in the field. For example, fill may be manually drained and re-filled into cavities 50, 145, 250, 380, 750, and/or 850 and/or housing 640 or mechanically drained and re-filled by distribution subsystem 30. Also, compromised fill modules 420 may be removed and replaced with operational fill modules 420. Further, compromised material 550 may be removed and replaced with operational material 550.

Several benefits may be associated with armor system 10. For example, armor system 10 may preclude the requirement for “special handling” by operators when vehicle 11 is outside of a combat area or other threat environment. Armor system 10 provides additional threat protection that is modular and that may be incorporated in new vehicles or retrofitted into existing vehicles. Also, armor system 10 may be used to provide additional protection to both transparent armor and opaque armor.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the disclosed apparatus and method. Other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the disclosed method and apparatus. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope being indicated by the following claims and their equivalents.