Title:
APPARATUSES FOR USE AS TARGETS AND METHODS OF MAKING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A target comprising an outer shell and a volume of closed cell foam within the outer shell. In a preferred embodiment, the target is a towable target for being towed behind a powered vehicle.



Inventors:
Fraser, Spencer (Medicine Hat, CA)
Zollner, Scott (Medicine Hat, CA)
Application Number:
13/275266
Publication Date:
04/18/2013
Filing Date:
10/17/2011
Assignee:
FRASER SPENCER
ZOLLNER SCOTT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41J9/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Blank Rome LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A target comprising: a first material forming an outer shell; and a second material substantially filling the outer shell wherein the second material is designed to maintain a buoyancy of the target when the outer shell is punctured.

2. The target of claim 1, wherein the target is designed to be towable.

3. The target of claim 2, wherein the second material is foam.

4. The target of claim 3, wherein the foam is a closed cell foam.

5. The target of claim 2, further including a stabilizer.

6. The target of claim 5, wherein the stabilizer is a pair of water skegs attached to an outside of the target.

7. The target of claim 1, wherein the first material forms a plurality of inner volumes.

8. The target of claim 1, wherein the outer shell includes a portal to an interior.

9. The target of claim 8, wherein the portal is a detachable portion of the outer shell.

10. The target of claim 9, wherein the portal is attached to the rest of the outer shell via a zipper.

11. The target of claim 1, wherein the outer shell is designed to allow the second material to be replaced.

12. The target of claim 2, further comprising a tension sensitive release.

13. The target of claim 1, further comprising a hydropower generator.

14. A kit for creating a target comprising: a deflated target designed to form an outer shell of a target when expanded wherein the target has a portion adapted for connecting a tow rope; and a foam material designed to be placed inside the outer shell.

15. The target of claim 14, wherein the foam material is a closed cell foam.

16. The target of claim 14, further including a pair of water skegs attached to an outside of the target.

17. The target of claim 14, wherein the target includes a plurality of inner volumes when expanded.

18. The target of claim 14, wherein the outer shell includes a portal to an interior.

19. The target of claim 18, wherein the portal is a detachable portion of the outer shell.

20. The target of claim 18, wherein the portal is attached to the rest of the outer shell via a zipper.

21. The target of claim 14, wherein the outer shell is designed to allow the foam material to be replaced.

22. The target of claim 14, further comprising a tension sensitive release.

23. A target comprising: an outer shell; and a volume of closed cell foam within the outer shell.

24. The target of claim 23, wherein the target is designed to be towable.

25. The target of claim 23, further including a pair of water skegs attached to an outside of the target.

26. The target of claim 23, further including a plurality of inner volumes.

27. The target of claim 23, wherein the outer shell includes a portal to an interior wherein the portal is designed to allow the closed cell foam to be replaced.

28. The target of claim 27, wherein the portal is attached to the rest of the outer shell via a zipper.

29. The target of claim 24, further comprising a tension sensitive release.

30. The target of claim 24, further comprising a hydropower generator.

Description:

FIELD

The present patent document relates to apparatuses for use as targets and methods of making the same. In particular, the present patent document relates to floating targets for weapon practice which may be adrift or towed behind a powered vehicle.

BACKGROUND

Inflatable targets help military units maintain a sate of readiness in target acquisition and weaponry skills. Numerous types of inflatable targets exist. Inflatable targets may be designed to float on water or be airborne. Targets that are designed to float on the water may be designed to be set adrift or may be designed to be towed behind a powered vehicle. One example of an inflatable target is the Killer Tomato. The Killer Tomato was first designed in 1963 and was originally designed to be set adrift but now has towable versions as well. Another example of a towable target is the Killer Banana. The Killer Banana is an inflatable designed to be towed on the water behind a powered vehicle.

Current designs of towable targets suffer from a number of deficiencies. As just one example, current designs of inflatable targets do not fare well in rough seas or strong winds. In addition, current designs of towable targets are difficult to tow behind a powered vehicle and often create excessive drag.

An additional problem with the current design of towable targets is how they respond to the damage caused when being hit by ammunition. When towable targets are fired on, they often are punctured by the ammunition. Punctures in the inflatable towable target can not only cause the target to deflate, the punctures may also cause the target to take on water. As the towable target takes on water, the towable target begins to create increased drag for the powered vehicle trying to pull it. Accordingly, the speed at which the towable target may be towed may be decreased until the towable target can not be towed at all. In some situations, a towable target that has taken on additional water may become so difficult to tow that it may break the tow line or cause damage to the powered vehicle trying to tow it.

The damage caused to towable targets from ammunition becomes an even larger problem when the towable targets are used in conjunction with certain types of weapons or particular mission simulations. For example, when towable targets are used with close in weapon systems (CIWS), such as a rapid fire 20 mm gun system, the towable target may take on extensive damage and rapidly deflate or become un-towable. Similar undesirable results may occur with other types of rapid fire weapon systems at close range. Weapon systems or mission simulations which put numerous rounds of ammunition on the target may dispose of the target in an undesirably short period of time.

To this end, it would be beneficial to have improved towable targets that remove or at least alleviate some of the problems with the current designs.

SUMMARY

In view of the foregoing, one aspect of the various disclosed embodiments in the present patent document is to provide improved towable targets. Preferably the methods and apparatuses address, or at least ameliorate, one or more of the problems described above. To this end, improved embodiments of targets are disclosed. In one embodiment, a target comprises a first material forming an outer shell and a second material substantially filling the outer shell wherein the second material is designed to float independently of the target. In some embodiments, the target is designed to be towable.

In some embodiments, the volume of the second material is foam. In some embodiments, the volume of a second material may be composed of a closed cell material. In some of those embodiments, the closed cell material may be closed cell foam.

In some embodiments of towable targets, the targets may include stabilizers. In some embodiments, the stabilizers may be water skegs.

In some embodiments, the interior of the target may be composed of numerous compartments or chambers. In other embodiments, the interior may be a single volume.

In yet other embodiments, the target includes an outer shell that includes a portal to an interior. In some embodiments, the portal is a detachable portion of the outer shell. In yet other embodiments the portal is attached to the rest of the outer shell via a zipper. In preferred embodiments, the outer shell is designed to allow the volume of a second material to be replaced through the portal.

In another aspect of the embodiments of the present patent document, a kit for creating a target is provided. The kit comprises a deflated target designed to form an outer shell of a target when expanded wherein the target has a portion adapted for connecting a tow rope, and a foam material designed to be placed inside the outer shell.

In some embodiments, the target further comprises a tension sensitive release. The tension sensitive release may be part of the tow rope or may be located before or after the rope or may be integrated with the attachment point of the tow rope on the target. The tension sensitive release automatically releases the tow rope when the tension becomes excessive during towing. In some embodiments, the tow rope may also be released manually or via a remote control.

The towable targets described herein provide benefits over other targets. Further aspects, objects, desirable features, and advantages of the devices and methods disclosed herein will be better understood from the detailed description and drawings that follow in which various embodiments are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the claimed embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a towable target being towed behind a powered vehicle.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a towable target.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross section of the embodiment of a towable target illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 illustrates a towable target that includes an outer shell and a filler material.

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of a filler material.

FIG. 6 shows a cross section of the filler material shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of a target interior including a hydropower system.

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of an inflatable target that includes multiple interior chambers and inflatable cross members.

FIG. 9 illustrates one embodiment of a kit for use in constructing a towable target.

FIG. 10 illustrates one embodiment of a kit that includes a towable target with a filler material shipped on a pallet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

The present patent document relates to targets. As used herein, target means an object to be aimed at during weapon practice. Targets may be any object used to designate a location for aiming bombs, rockets, bullets, or any other type of projectile. Targets may be moving or stationary. Targets may be on land, floating on water, or airborne. Targets floating on water may be set adrift or towed behind a powered vehicle.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a towable target 10 being towed behind a powered vehicle 5. Towable target 10 is designed to be towed behind a powered vehicle 5 on the water as shown in FIG. 1. Towable target 10 provides a moving object to allow shooting practice by weapon operators such as those found on boats, ships and aircraft. As just one example, a helicopter door gunner may fire upon towable target 10 as a means of target practice. Providing a moving target that weapon operators may actually fire upon provides a more realistic simulation of combat situations and allows weapon operators to hone their skills outside of actual combat experience.

The powered vehicle 5 used to tow towable target 10 may be any type of boat or ship. The boat or ship may be either manned or unmanned. In a preferred embodiment, the towable target 10 is towed behind an unmanned powered vehicle 5 which may be referred to as a drone. Examples of unmanned boats that may be used to tow towable target 10 include the Barracuda and the Hammerhead. In other embodiments, other powered vehicles 5 may be used to tow towable target 10.

In some embodiments, the connection between towable target 10 and the powered vehicle 5 may be a static fixed length line. In other embodiments, the towable target 10 may be connected to a winch or spooler or other type of device that provides an adjustable length of the tow line between the towable target 10 and the powered vehicle 5. To this end, the towable target may be towed behind the powered vehicle using any length tow line. In a preferred embodiment, the towable target 10 is tow between 20 m and 2000 m behind the powered vehicle 5. In other embodiments, other distances may be used.

In some embodiments, towable target 10 may be designed to be towed behind a particular type of powered vehicle 5. As just one example, towable target 10 may be adjusted in overall size or weight in order to optimize it for towing behind a particular powered vehicle 5. A larger towable target 10 may work better with a larger powered vehicle 5. In other embodiments, other modifications and optimizations may be made to the towable target 10 to allow it to work better with a particular powered vehicle 5.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a towable target 10. The embodiment of towable target 10 shown in FIG. 2 includes an outer shell 12 and stabilizers 16. As shown in FIG. 2, in some embodiments towable target 10 may be in a generally cylindrical shape. However, towable target 10 may be any shape. For targets that are designed to be towed, a preferred shape is one that is substantially aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, and stable when being towed.

Outer shell 12 may include a shaped bow 14. A shaped bow 14 helps make towable target 10 more aerodynamic and hydrodynamic and helps reduce drag and stabilize towable target 10 when being pulled by a powered vehicle 5. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the shaped bow 14 is conically shaped, however, in other embodiments other shapes for the shaped bow 14 may be used.

In different embodiments, towable target 10 may be designed to be any size and as explained above, the size may be optimized depending the powered vehicle 5 the towable target 10 is designed for. Another factor in determining the size of the towable target may be the size of the target the gunner shooting at the target would like to try and hit. In one embodiment, the towable target 10 may be approximately 7200 millimeters from the tip of the bow to the back of the stern with an approximate diameter of the outer shell of 2400 millimeters. In another embodiment, the towable target may be approximately 3400 millimeters from the tip of the bow to the back of the stern with an approximate diameter of the outer shell of 1200 millimeters. In other embodiments, targets may be constructed in larger or smaller sizes.

The outer shell 12, which may also be referred to as the skin, may be fabricated from any type of material. In a preferred embodiment, the outer shell 12 is made from a durable material that resists easily being punctured. For example the outer shell 12 may be made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or other type of durable material. In a preferred embodiment, the outer shell 12 is made from a material that does not absorb water. In other embodiments, the outer shell 12 may be made from canvas, tarp, or any other type of material.

The embodiment of towable target 10 shown in FIG. 2, includes stabilizers 16. Stabilizers 16 are attached to the outside of the towable target 10 and are designed to communicate with the water to stabilize the towable target 10 when being towed by the powered vehicle 5. Stabilizers 16 allow the towable target 10 to be towed much faster than current target designs. For example, embodiments of towable targets including stabilizers 16 may operate at speeds greater than 8 knots. In a preferred embodiment, a towable target 10 including stabilizers may operate at speeds between 8 and 28 knots. In other preferred embodiments, a towable target 10 including stabilizers 16 may operate at speeds greater than 28 knots. In some embodiments, the towable target 10 may achieve speeds as high as 40 knots.

Stabilizers 16 also allow towable target 10 to operate in rough water conditions. For example, towable targets 10 including stabilizers 16 have been tested in sea state 5 conditions and can operate in sea state 5 and above conditions.

In the embodiment of towable target 10 shown in FIG. 2, water skegs are used as stabilizers 16. Water skegs may be attached to the outer shell 12 or be formed as an integrated part of the outer shell 12.

In some embodiments, the water skegs may be fins like those on the bottom of a surfboard. However, in a preferred embodiment, the water skegs are designed to fill with water as the target is towed. When the water skegs fill with water, they form ballast for the towable target and help keep it stable. The water skegs also form rails on the bottom of the target and help keep it traveling in a straight line. Designing the water skegs to fill with water allows the water skegs to be constructed out of a flexible material which gains an increased rigidity and weight from the filling water.

The water skegs 16 may be designed to take on different amounts of water depending on the stability needed for the towable target, the size of the towable target, and the powered vehicle 5 the towable target 10 is designed for. Table 1 provides some approximate water skeg to towable target 10 sizes. The size of the water skeg is measured in the weight of the water skeg when full of water. These numbers are for reference and in other embodiments, other sizes or ratios of sizes may be used.

TABLE 1
Examples of Target Size to Water Skeg Size.
TowableTowable
Target SizeTarget SizeVolume of 1Volume of 2Weight of 1Weight of 2
(Bow to Stearn)(Diameter)SkegSkegsSkeg (kg)Skegs (kg)
Exemplary7200 mm2400 mm0.5044 m31.0088 m3504.4110008.82
Example 1
Exemplary3400 mm1200 mm0.0533 m30.1065 m353.25106.51
Example 2

In addition to the overall size of the water skegs, the flow of water through the water skeg may be adjusted by changing the size of the inlet and drainage holes on the water skeg. The inlets and outlets must be designed such that the water skeg fills with water and not just allows the water to flow through. Approximate inlet diameters may range from about 100 mm or about 400 mm while the exit diameter may only be about a 10 mm to about 20 mm. When the target is no longer in use, the water skegs may be drained by tipping the target in the direction of the inlet or outlet, preferably the outlet, and allowing the water skeg to drain.

Although water skegs are used in a preferred embodiment, in other embodiments, other types of stabilizers 16 may be used. For example, rudders, fins, runners, or other boat stabilizing components may be used as stabilizers 16 for towable target 10.

In different embodiments, the outer shell 12 may form one continuous interior chamber or may form a plurality of interior chambers 18. The interior chambers 18 formed by the outer shell may be completely sealed from each other or may only be partially sealed from each other. In some embodiments, a combination of sealed and partially sealed interior chambers 18 may also be used. The interior chambers 18 may be formed by the material used for the outer shell 12 or may be formed by additional dividers that divide up a single interior chamber 18 formed by the outer shell 12. In a preferred embodiment, a target may have between 1 and 10 chambers. However, in other embodiments, more interior chambers 18 may be used.

Towable target 10 may include a towable cable or plurality of towable cables 24. In a preferred embodiment, the towable cables 24 may float. Floating cables 24 help prevent the cables 24 from getting caught or tangled in the propellers or other rotating portions or propulsion mechanisms of the powered vehicle 5.

In a preferred embodiment, towable target 10 may include attachment points for the towable cables 24. Attachment points may be reinforced to prevent the towable cable 24 from damaging the towable target 10 when being pulled. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, there are two cables 24 each attached to a respective water skeg at an attachment point. In other embodiments, more or less towable cables 24 may be used. Also, the attachment points may be located on the stabilizers 16 or somewhere else on the towable target 10. For example, the attachment points for the towable cables 24 may located on the outside shell 12 of the towable target 10.

In a preferred embodiment, the attachment points for the towable cables 24 are located on the stabilizers 16 of the towable target 10 as shown in FIG. 2. Locating the attachment points for the towable cables 24 on the stabilizers 16 may increase the stability of the towable target 10, especially when water skegs are used. Targets that are designed to be set adrift and are not designed to be towed, may or may not have attachment points for a towable cable 24.

Towable target 10 may include weapon sensor enhancers 26. Weapon sensor enhancers 26 allow acquisition systems to better detect and/or track the towable target 10. The weapon sensor enhancer 26 shown in FIG. 2 is a strip of laser reflective tape. However, weapon sensor enhancer 26 may be any type of device that enhances the ability of targeting systems to acquire and/or track the target.

Weapon sensor enhancer 26 may be designed to enhance sensors detecting any point in the electromagnetic spectrum. For example, weapon sensor enhancer 26 may be a radar reflector, or thermal device to allow thermal imaging systems to better acquire the towable target 10. In some embodiments, weapon sensor enhancer 26 may be a visual enhancer to enhance the visual system so that the target may be better acquired and tracked by optical systems.

In some embodiments, a portion of the outer shell 12 of the towable target 10 may be painted to increase the thermal contrast of the towable target 10 to enhance acquisition by thermal imaging systems. The paint may be a paint with particular thermal qualities or may simply be a different color paint that will absorb more sunlight, such as black paint. In other embodiments, the outer shell 12 may be made from different color materials to achieve the same effect as painting a portion of the outer shell 12. For example, in one embodiment, a portion of the outer shell 12 may be manufactured from black PVC material while the remainder of the outer shell is manufactured from an orange PVC material. In yet other embodiments, patches of material designed to enhance acquisition and tracking in the electromagnetic spectrum may be affixed to the outer shell.

Towable target 10 may also include an auxiliary equipment interface 20. An auxiliary equipment interface 20 allows the towable target 10 to interface with auxiliary equipment. For example, the embodiment of the auxiliary equipment interface shown in FIG. 2 is in the form of a pocket in the outer shell 12 that extends into the interior of the towable target 10. As an analogy, auxiliary equipment interface 20 may be thought of as a belly button in the towable target 10. Other embodiments may have other forms of auxiliary equipments interfaces 20.

Auxiliary equipment may be mounted to a post or pole and slid down into the auxiliary equipment interface 20 and secured. Auxiliary equipment may include any type of equipment. For example, a radio relay, radar reflector, or other type of auxiliary equipment may be mounted using auxiliary equipment interface 20.

In some embodiments, towable target 10 may also include a rear tow attachment 22. Rear tow attachment 22 may allow multiple towable targets 10 to be attached together and towed in series.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross section of the embodiment of the towable target of FIG. 2. As may be seen in FIG. 3, in a preferred embodiment the water skegs are round. In other embodiments the water skegs may be other shapes such as a fin or other shape. In a preferred embodiment, the water skegs are positioned on the outside circumference of the outer shell 12 in a location such that the center of the water skegs are aligned tangential or approximately tangential to the bottom of the towable target 10. The water skegs may be positioned in other positions in other embodiments.

In some embodiments, towable target 10 may be inflatable. In a preferred embodiment, towable target 40 may include a filler material 42 located in the interior of the outer shell as show in FIG. 4. In a preferred embodiment, the filler material 42 is designed to float independently of the towable target 40. By placing a filler material 42 in the interior of the outer shell 12, the towable target 40 is made more durable with respect to ammunition impacts. As explained above, a towable target that is inflated with air and lacks any filler material 42 may be too easily destroyed by CIWS and other weapons systems. After only a few hits, an inflatable target may deflate and fail to function as a target. The filler material 42 allows the towable target 40 to take numerous impacts from ammunition without being completely destroyed and/or significantly impacting the ability of the towable target 40 to perform its intended functions. Because the filler material 42 is designed to float independently of the towable target 40, the filler material 42 helps maintain the structural shape of the towable target 40, prevents the towable target 40 from taking on excess water, and thus increases the number of impacts the towable target 40 can sustain before becoming inoperable. In a preferred embodiment, the towable target 40 is not inflated but rather has an outer shell 12 covering a filler material 42.

FIG. 4 illustrates a towable target 40 that includes an outer shell 12 assembled over a filler material 42. Preferably, filler material 42 is a foam and even more preferably filler material 42 is a closed cell foam. The closed cell design prevents the filler material 42 from holding additional water when it is impacted by ammunition.

In a preferred embodiment, closed cell foam is used. However, in other embodiments, other materials may be used and in particular other closed cell materials. In some embodiments, expandable foam may be used and may be blown or pumped into the outer shell of the target. In a preferred embodiment, the filler material 42 is designed to float independently from the rest of the towable target 40. Designing the filler material 42 to float independently from the rest of the towable target 40 allows the filler material 42 to provide buoyancy to the towable target 40. Accordingly, towable target 40 may continue to function despite a reduction in the structural integrity of the outer shell 12 or other portions of the towable target 40 being compromised by ammunition impacts.

The filler material 42 used in a target may be any type of material. Preferably, the filler material 42 absorbs as little water as possible so as to not weigh down the target. Table 2 shows a number of examples of foams that may be used in targets. In other embodiments, other foams not shown in Table 2 may be sued. The foams of Table 2 were provided by Noresman Group of Canada (www.norseman.ca). Although any of the foams listed in Table 2 may be used as a filler material 42, a study was done to determine which foam would be most preferable as a filler material 42. Two samples of each foam were provided by Noresman and each sample had an area of about 37.2 in2 exposed to water. The initial weights of these samples were determined using a Salter household food scale, model number 1406 SVEFLNT. The samples were then placed in water and left for a 24 hour period. After this, the samples were patted dry and their weights were again determined. Table 2 shows both the initial and final weights of all 14 samples and Table 3 shows the average weight increase of each of the foam types.

TABLE 2
Initial and Final Weights of Foam Samples
Sample 1Sample 2
LD15 GREYInitial Weight (g)55
Final Weight (g)77
Δ Weight (g)22
LD24 BLACKInitial Weight (g)77
Final Weight (g)99
Δ Weight (g)22
VA 35 GREYInitial Weight (g)1011
Final Weight (g)1213
Δ Weight (g)22
LD45 WHITEInitial Weight (g)1212
Final Weight (g)1415
Δ Weight (g)23
EV50 GREYInitial Weight (g)1415
Final Weight (g)1717
Δ Weight (g)32
NOR-CELLInitial Weight (g)76
PE-RXSA-20-.250Final Weight (g)88
Δ Weight (g)12
XLPE-RCQ-20-25Initial Weight (g)1111
BLACKFinal Weight (g)1314
Δ Weight (g)23

TABLE 3
Average Weight Increase
Average Weight
FoamIncrease (g)
LD15 GREY2
LD24 BLACK2
VA 35 GREY2
LD45 WHITE2.5
EV50 GREY2.5
NOR-CELL PE-RXSA-2-.2501.5
XLPE-RCQ-20-25 BLACK2.5

As shown in Table 3, the foam with the least absorption was the NOR-CELL PE-RXSA-2-.250. Based on this data, the use of NOR-CELL PE-RXSA-2-.250 foam may be the preferable filler material 42 for targets. However, because none of the foams absorbed a significant amount of water, all the foams listed in Table 2 may be acceptable for use as filler material 42 in targets.

In a preferred embodiment, the filler material 42 substantially fills the interior of the towable target 10 formed by the outer shell 12. However, in other embodiments, more or less filler material 42 may be used. If the embodiment of the towable target includes an interior with multiple chambers, the filler material 42 may be included in one or more chambers. To this end, in different embodiments, the filler material 42 may be a single piece or multiple pieces.

In some embodiments, filler material 42 may be used with no outer shell 12 at all. For example, the target may simply be formed out of the filler material 42. As just one example, if foam is used for such an embodiment, the foam may be formed in the shape of the target. The foam may then be attached directly to the tow rope, stabilizers or any other components of the target.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the towable target 40 includes a portal 48 in the outer shell 12. Portal 48 allows the filler material 42 to be removed from the towable target 40 and replaced. If the filler material 42 sustains extensive damage during use, the filler material 42 may be replaced by removing it through portal 48. In addition, portal 48 allows access to the interior of the outer shell 12 for patching and repair to the outer shell 12 from the inside if needed.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, portal 48 is completely detachable from the towable target 40. However in other embodiments, portal 48 may be a door or window and may only open a passage way to the interior of the towable target 40 and may not be completely detachable. In a preferred embodiment, portal 48 is attached to the rest of the outer shell 12 using a resealable fastener such as a zipper, Velcro, snaps, Ziplock, or any other method of resealable attachment. In a preferred embodiment, the resealable attachment method is water tight and seals the portal 48 to the rest of the outer shell 12.

The embodiment of a towable target 40 shown in FIG. 4 includes a payload container 44. Payload container 44 allows the towable target 40 to contain a payload. Payload container 44, may simply be a compartment or pocket to place a payload. In a preferred embodiment, payload container 44 may be a waterproof container that provides a payload area substantially protected from ammunition damage. Payloads may be expensive and providing protection from the ammunition being fired upon the target may be important. To this end, payload container 44 may include some shielding to protect from ammunition impacts. In addition, payload container 44 may be positioned on the towable target 40 in a location which provides the most shielding from ammunition impacts. As may be seen in FIG. 4, the ammunition container 44 is located on the underside (belly) of the towable target 10. In other embodiments, other locations may be used for payload container 44.

Payload container 44 may be used to carry visual or infrared flares, chaff, various colors of smoke, navigation lights, batteries, remote control systems, scoring systems, or any other type of payload or combination of payloads. In a preferred embodiment, the payload may include a scoring system to increase the accuracy of the scoring of the ammunition impacts on the target.

In some embodiments, the scoring system may include pressure sensors. The interior chambers of the target may be under a positive pressure. In other embodiments, a bladder with a plurality of chambers under positive pressure may be included in the target. In some embodiments, the bladder may be internal. In other embodiments, the bladder may be integrated around the outside of the target. A pressure sensor may monitor the pressure in each chamber. When ammunition shot by a weapon pierces one of the chambers, the pressure sensor monitoring that chamber may record the drop in pressure and use the information as part of a scoring system. In embodiments including a bladder, the chambers may be strategically placed to be able to distinguish glancing blows versus direct blows. For example, some chambers may be placed directly in the middle of the target which when pierced would indicate a direct hit while chambers closer to the outside edges of the target may only record a glancing blow.

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of a filler material 42. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the filler material 42 is a continuous peace of closed cell foam. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the exterior of the filler material 42 is shaped to substantially fill the interior of the outer shell 12 (not shown in FIG. 5). The embodiment of the filler material 42 shown in FIG. 5, has a hollow section 50 and a payload area 52. The payload area 52 may receive a payload container 44. The hollow area 50 reduces the overall weight of the filler material 42 my removing a substantial volume of material. In other embodiments of filler material 42, other shapes may be used. In some embodiments, the filler material 42 may not have a hollow area 50, or may not have a payload area 52, or may not have either a hollow area 50 or a payload area 52. In other embodiments, other shapes may be used including shapes with more or less hollow areas and other shapes. FIG. 6 shows a cross section A-A of filler material 42 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of a target interior including a hydropower generator 60. In the embodiment sown in FIG. 7, hydropower generator 60 includes an inlet 62 and an outlet 64. The inlet 62 is designed to be submerged in the water when the target is towed behind a powered vehicle. In a preferred embodiment, inlet 62 may be a water scoop. As the target is towed, water flows through the hydropower generator 60 from the inlet to the outlet and is forced through a turbine 66. Turbine 66 rotates and may be used to create electricity by turning an electrical generator 68. The electrical generator 68 may be used to power a payload or may be used to charge a battery 72 or other storage device such as a capacitor. The electrical generator 68 may be connected to a battery 72 or other piece of payload by electrical leads 70.

In addition to filler material, other methods may be used to allow a target to better sustain multiple impacts from ammunition. FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of an inflatable target 30 that includes multiple interior chambers 18 and inflatable or foam filled cross members 32. Having multiple interior chambers 18 allows a single chamber to deflate or lose air pressure from an ammunition puncture without causing the entire towable target 30 deflating. The cross members 32 provide additional structural support especially when an interior chamber or multiple interior chambers begin(s) losing air pressure. The embodiment shown in FIG. 8 includes four cross members, placed ninety (90) degrees apart, and eight (8) interior chamber not including the bow. In other embodiments, more or less chambers 18 or cross members 32 may be used.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 8 also includes multiple auxiliary equipment interfaces 20. Embodiments of different targets may include more or less auxiliary equipment interfaces 20. The embodiment shown in FIG. 8 also includes a multiple color outer shell 12 to increase the thermal signature of the target 30. Any number of colors or various materials may be used in different embodiments in order to increase or decrease the thermal signature of the target as desired.

Embodiments of towable target 10 may be embodied in kit form. FIG. 9, illustrates one embodiment of a kit 100 for use in constructing a towable target 10. Kit 100 may include a deflated towable target 10. In some embodiments, kit 10 may also include an air pump, towing bridal assembly, radar reflector(s), tow line(s), and/or repair kits. If towable target 10 is designed to include a filler material, the filler material may be packaged or shipped separately from the kit. In an embodiment that includes a filler material, the outer shell may be folded and packaged as part of the kit or may come already integrated around the filler material. FIG. 10 illustrates an example of a kit 110 that includes a towable target with a filler material 42 shipped on a pallet 112. As may be seen in FIG. 10, the filler material 42 and outer shell 12 may be shipped already assembled together. Additional kit components 114 may be shipped in a separate container.