Title:
VESSEL AND INSERT ARMOR SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vessel-based armor system is disclosed that comprises an outer vessel element and a ballistic protection element enclosed within. The vessel itself does not provide protection from ballistic threats; rather, the protective element within the vessel mitigates the ballistic threat. The vessel provides housing for the internal protective element. The design of the vessel permits the insertion and removal of the protective element and the replacement with a different protective element. In the primary embodiment, the protective element is an armored insert comprising at least one ballistic resistant plate (or panel). A preferred embodiment of the armored insert comprises a series of offset panels or plates thereby forming a spaced armor arrangement within the vessel. The same vessel is capable of accepting fill material, strata of fill material and armor interstitial plates, or a liquid, thereby increasing the flexibility of use, range of cost, weight, and setup time in the deployment of the armor system.



Inventors:
Nead, Daniel (Johnson City, NY, US)
Application Number:
14/749974
Publication Date:
02/18/2016
Filing Date:
06/25/2015
Assignee:
NEAD DANIEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41H5/06
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
DE3931895A11994-12-15
Primary Examiner:
TILLMAN, JR, REGINALD S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Amy Manzer (Binghamton, NY, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequently appended claims:

1. An armor system, comprising: a) at least one vessel element, comprising at least three sidewalls at least partially enclosing a space therewithin, the depth of each sidewall being approximately equal to that of each of the other sidewalls; wherein each of said sidewalls is attached to at least two other sidewalls to form an outer perimeter of at least one closed shape; wherein the sidewalls form at least one compartment; said at least one compartment comprising a partially enclosed internal volume having a top opening, a bottom opening, and a perimeter established by the combined sidewalls; b) an internal ballistic protective element comprising at least one object, disposed in said partially enclosed internal volume for mitigating a ballistic threat; and c) a containment system comprising at least one enclosure surface for at least one of the openings created by the combined sidewalls; each enclosure surface comprising a planar surface having the shape and dimensions of the outside perimeter of at least one of the openings formed by the combined vessel sidewalls; said planar surfaces being fastened or formed in place to contain at least one of the openings of the enclosed internal volume of the vessel element.

2. The armor system of claim 1, wherein at least two enclosure surfaces along with the at least one vessel element fully enclose the space created by the vessel element sidewalls; each vessel opening being sealed by at least one enclosure surface; wherein at least one of the enclosure surfaces may be temporarily removed to allow access to the space created by the combined vessel element sidewalls.

3. The armor system of claim 2, wherein each removable enclosure surface of the containment system further comprises containment side-skirting comprising at least one flange attached orthogonally along an outer perimeter of the planer surface of the enclosure surface, wherein said planer surface is dimensioned to permit the side-skirting to at least partially envelop at least one side of the outer sidewalls of the vessel element.

4. The armor system of claim 2, wherein said internal ballistic protection element comprises particle fill comprising at least one of: synthetic granular elements, naturally occurring organic, and mineral elements, wherein the areas of contact between the outer perimeter sidewalls and the containment system form a seal, thereby obstructing leaking of the particle fill from the interior volume of the vessel.

5. The armor system of claim 1, wherein said at least one vessel element comprises at least two sets of parallel sidewalls; each set comprising at least two sidewalls; one set of sidewalls running perpendicular to and intersecting with the other set of parallel sidewalls to form a grid pattern, the number of parallel sidewalls within each sidewall set determining the number and arrangement of compartments within said vessel element.

6. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the internal ballistic protection element comprises at least one plate or blocking element; the face perimeter of each plate or blocking element being the same shape and area of the interior perimeter of the compartment that said plate or blocking element occupies, allowing said at least one plate or blocking element to be contained within the volume of the compartment.

7. The armor system of claim 6, further comprising a spacing system comprising at least one object that at least partially fills the volume of a compartment and aids in the mitigation of a ballistic threat by at least partially absorbing the energy of the ballistic threat through the deformation of said spacing system.

8. The armor system of claim 7, wherein the spacing system comprises particle fill comprising at least one of: synthetic granular elements, naturally occurring organic, and mineral elements.

9. The armor system of claim 1, wherein the internal ballistic protection element comprises at least two plates, offset and parallel from one another, such that a ballistic threat must pass through said plates in series; the face perimeter of each plate being approximately the same shape and area of the interior perimeter that the compartment said plate occupies, allowing said plates to be contained within the volume of the combined sidewalls.

10. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the series of plates are offset by a rod spacing component comprising at least three spacing rods that run orthogonally off of the face of a plate to separate said plate from the next plate in series; the dimensional length of the spacing rods being less than the depth of the sidewalls, allowing the internal ballistic protection element to be contained within the compartment of said vessel element.

11. The armor system of claim 9, wherein the plates are offset by a frame spacing component comprising at least three spacing rods that run orthogonally off of the face of at least one plate; each spacing rod being attached to at least one other spacing rod by at least one lateral framing rod member; the frame spacing component separating said plate from the next plate in series; the overall depth of frame spacing component being less than the depth of the vessel sidewalls, allowing the internal ballistic protection element to be contained within the compartment of said vessel element.

12. The armor system of claim 9, wherein said plates are offset by particle fill comprising at least one of: synthetic granular elements, naturally occurring organic, and mineral elements, the particle fill separating each plate from the next plate in series; the volume of fill not exceeding the volume of the internal volume formed by the vessel sidewalls, thereby allowing the combined particle fill and plates to be contained completely within the compartment of said vessel.

Description:

RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

The present application is related to U.S. provisional patent application No. 62/016,694, for A VESSEL AND INSERT ARMOR SYSTEM, filed Jun. 25, 2014 and hereby incorporates the teachings thereof in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed at a vessel-based armor system that provides protection through interchangeable inserts and/or through on-site fill methods.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In combat and related scenarios, there is a basic demand for armor systems capable of mitigating ballistic threats. Conventional hard skin armor and protective envelope systems are expensive to produce, heavy to transport, non-variable in protection level once issued, and/or are difficult to upgrade as new materials and technologies are introduced. Fill based armor and protective barrier systems are labor intensive to establish, are static, and/or are restricted to use in areas with suitable fill material. An armor system that facilitates the rapid alteration of its protective element to meet the constraints of mission type and earth-fill availability, may be easily upgraded, and provides variable and customizable protection from one use to the next would be well suited for a variety of roles in combat and related scenarios.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The vessel-based armor system comprises two elements: a vessel element and an internal ballistic protection element. The vessel element functions as a container for the internal ballistic protection element. The internal ballistic protection element's primary role is to mitigate ballistic threats. The vessel element unifies the internal armor element(s) into a contained unit with functional dimensions and stiffness for use in a variety of applications. The internal ballistic protection element may be removed and switched out for another of its kind. The primary aim of the design's combination of a vessel element and an internal armor element is to allow for the swapping, upgrading, and or customization of protection, and to do so without permanent modification and without time-intensive procedures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent detailed description, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; an enclosure surface is not shown in this illustration. The illustration demonstrates a three sidewall embodiment of the vessel element.

FIG. 2 is a section view of a vessel element, enclosure surface, and an internal ballistic protective element; the internal ballistic protective element is shown within the compartment formed by the vessel's sidewalls; the enclosure surfaces are shown aligned but in an exploded arrangement. The illustration demonstrates a three sidewall embodiment of the vessel element.

FIG. 3 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element, wherein fill material serves as the ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel. Gaskets run along the interior perimeter of the top sheet of the enclosure surface in order to provide a seal for the compartment.

FIG. 4 is an exploded axonometric illustration showing an internal ballistic protective element and a vessel element without enclosure surfaces; the internal ballistic protective element is shown removed from the compartment formed by the vessel's sidewalls. The illustration demonstrates a four sidewall embodiment of the vessel element and a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protective element.

FIG. 5 is an exploded axonometric illustration showing an internal ballistic protective element and a vessel element with two enclosure surfaces; the internal ballistic protective element is shown within the compartment formed by the vessel's sidewalls. The illustration demonstrates a four sidewall embodiment of the vessel element and a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protective element positioned within the compartment.

FIG. 6 is a section view of a vessel element, enclosure surface, and an internal ballistic protective element; the components are shown aligned but in an exploded arrangement.

FIG. 7 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel.

FIG. 8 is an exploded axonometric illustration of an embodiment of the internal ballistic protective element, wherein the spacing component between two plates incorporates a truss.

FIG. 9 is an exploded axonometric illustration of an embodiment of the internal ballistic protective element, wherein the spacing component between two plates incorporates spacing rods that run orthogonally off of the face of the plates and lateral framing rod members link the spacing rods to form a frame spacing component.

FIG. 10 is two stage plan illustration demonstrating the before-and-after states of a collapsible embodiment of the frame spacing component. In the illustrated embodiment, the frame spacing component has four spacing rods that serve as pivot points and are linked by lateral framing rod members to form a closed rectangular shape. The top plan illustration shows the frame spacing element extended in a voluminous state wherein it would occupy a compartment within a vessel. The lower plan illustration shows the frame spacing element collapsed in a flattened state for storage or transport.

FIG. 11 is two stage plan illustration demonstrating the before-and-after states of a collapsible embodiment of the frame spacing component. In the illustrated embodiment, the frame spacing component has five spacing rods; the central spacing rod serves as a pivot point and is linked by lateral framing rod members to each of the other spacing rods. The top plan illustration shows the frame spacing element extended in a voluminous state wherein it would occupy a compartment within a vessel. The lower plan illustration shows the frame spacing element collapsed in a flattened state for storage or transport.

FIG. 12 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein the spacers are collapsible, thereby reducing storage volume. The internal ballistic protection element is shown in three instances: fully spaced, partially collapsed, and fully collapsed.

FIG. 13 is a plan view of a linear arrangement of compartments formed by parallel sets of vessel sidewalls.

FIG. 14 is a plan view of a planar arrangement of compartments formed by parallel sets of vessel sidewalls.

FIG. 15 is an axonometric view of four linear arranged vessels, aligned to form a planar barrier; the view shows ten compartments occupied with internal ballistic elements and six compartments that are empty.

FIG. 16 is an axonometric view of four linear arranged vessels, aligned to form a planar barrier; the view shows the four vessels with the enclosure surface obscuring the compartments within the vessels. Clasping hardware, cable, and strap based fastening system options for the enclosure surface are illustrated.

FIG. 17 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein orthogonally aligned rods are used as spacers.

FIG. 18 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein interstitial blocking is used as spacers.

FIG. 19 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein interstitial members/framing are used as spacers.

FIG. 20 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein interstitial volumetric elements are used as spacers.

FIG. 21 is a section illustration showing a spaced armor embodiment of the internal ballistic protection element wherein interstitial framing comprising frame spacing components are used as spacers.

FIG. 22 is an exploded axonometric illustration showing one option for securing the enclosure surface to the vessel element; a flange attaches to the top sheet via a hinge element.

FIG. 23 is an exploded axonometric illustration showing one option for securing the enclosure surface to the vessel element; a clasp piece attaches the flanges to the exterior sidewalls of the vessel element.

FIG. 24 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel. The internal ballistic protective element is in the form of a plate or panel.

FIG. 25 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel. The internal ballistic protective element is in the form of a blocking element.

FIG. 26 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel. The internal ballistic protective element is in the form of a plate or panel that is augmented with a single contiguous spacing system element.

FIG. 27 is a section view of a vessel element and an internal ballistic protective element; the enclosure surface is shown secured to encompass and seal the internal protective element within a compartment formed by the sidewalls of the vessel. The internal ballistic protective element is in the form of a plate or panel that is augmented with a spacing system element comprising particle fill.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although the following detailed description contains specific details for the purposes of illustration, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that variations and alterations to the following details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention described below are set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.

This protection system comprises a vessel element 100 and an internal ballistic protection element 102.

The Vessel Element:

The vessel element 100 comprises at least three sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c. The length and thickness of each sidewall 104a, 104b, 104c may be different or similar to each of the other sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c; the depth of each sidewall 104a, 104b, 104c should be approximately equal to each of the other sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c. Each sidewall 104a, 104b, 104c attaches to at least two other sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c; the outer perimeter of the attached sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c forms at least one closed shape.

The vessel element 100 is complemented by a containment system comprising at least one enclosure surface 106a. In a preferred embodiment, the vessel element 100 further comprises two enclosure surfaces 106a, 106b; one to seal the top opening 108 and one to seal the bottom opening 110 created by the combined sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c. At least one enclosure surface 106a, 106b may be temporarily removed or opened to allow access to the interior volume 112 created by the sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c. This internal volume 112 may be referred to as a compartment.

In one embodiment, the sidewall arrangement of the vessel element 100 comprises at least two sets of parallel side walls 114a, 114b, 116 a, 116b, 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d. In a preferred embodiment, one set of parallel sidewalls 114a, 114b runs perpendicular and intersects with one other set of parallel sidewalls 116a, 116b to form a grid pattern when viewed in plan as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. The number of parallel sidewalls within each set 114a, 114b, 114c, 114d, 114e, 116a, 116b, 116c, 116d, 116e determines the number and arrangement of compartments 112 within one contiguous vessel element 100. A set of parallel sidewalls comprising two sidewalls 116a, 116b in addition to a set of parallel sidewalls comprising more than two sidewalls 114a, 114b, 114c, 114d, 114e will result in a linear arrangement of compartments as shown in FIG. 13. If each parallel set of sidewalls 114a, 114b, 114c, 114d, 114e, 116a, 116b, 116c, 116d, 116e comprises more than two sidewalls, the arrangement of compartments will be in a planar grid pattern as shown in FIG. 14.

Each enclosure surface 106a, 106b is of an appropriate dimensional area to fully seal at least one of either the top 108 or bottom 110 openings of the compartments 112 created by the arrangement of the sidewalls 114a, 114b, 114c, 114d, 114e, 116a, 116b, 116c, 116d, 116e, 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d. In a preferred embodiment, each enclosure surface 106a, 106b comprises a top sheet 118 oriented on a plane orthogonal to that of the sidewalls 114a, 114b, 114c, 114d, 114e, 116a, 116b, 116c, 116d, 116e, 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d. In one embodiment, this top sheet 118 is of a surface area approximately equal to at least one compartment 112. In another embodiment, the surface area of the top sheet 118 is approximately equal to the surface area created by the outside edge of the outermost sidewalls 116a, 116e, 114a, 114e, 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d of at least one vessel element. In an alternate embodiment, the surface area of the top sheet 118 is approximately equal to the area created by the outside edge of the outermost sidewalls of multiple adjacent and aligned vessel elements 100 as shown in FIG. 16. In one embodiment, the top sheet of the enclosure surface is held in place by at least one flange 120 running orthogonally off of the top sheet 118. Depending on the number and location of the flanges 122a, 122b, 122c, 122d, the flange(s) may fasten to, be wedged, or fastened into the inside surface 121 of at least one sidewall as shown in FIG. 22, or the outside surface of at least one sidewall 116a, 116e, 114a, 114e, 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d of the vessel element 100 as shown in FIGS. 02, 03, 05, 06, 07, 16, and 23. In a preferred embodiment, there are an equal number of flanges 122a, 122b, 122c, 122d attached to each enclosure surface 106a, 106b as there are outer sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d; the flanges 122a, 122b, 122c, 122d being attached at the outer perimeter of the top sheet 118, skirt the outside of the outer sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d, 116a, 116e, 114a, 114e. These flanges may be referred to as side-skirts or containment side-skirting. This allows two enclosure surfaces 106a, 106b, one on the top opening 108 and one on the bottom opening 110, to at least partially envelop the sidewalls of at least one vessel element as shown in FIG. 16. In a preferred embodiment, each enclosure surface 106a, 106b is fastened in place to seal the vessel element as shown in FIGS. 05, 07, 16, 22, 23. Methods for securing each enclosure surface 106a, 106b include but are not limited to cable 127, strap 124, hinge 125, and/or clasping 129 hardware. In one embodiment at least one enclosure surface 106a, 106b is fastened to the vessel element 100 to at least partially seal the vessel element. In an alternate embodiment, at least one enclosure surface 106a is fastened to its mirrored enclosure surface 106b to seal the vessel element 100. In one embodiment, at least one enclosure surface 106a, 106b is permanently fastened to, formed with, or molded to the vessel element 100 to form a homogenous element.

Internal Ballistic Protection Element:

The internal ballistic protective element 102 is at least one object, of any material, that partially or fully fills the compartment 112 of the vessel element 100, and is capable of mitigating a relevant ballistic threat. The internal ballistic protective element 102 may comprise synthetic elements, such as plates 128, blocking elements 132, and/or absorptive material 132, 137a, 137b naturally occurring materials such organic and/or mineral elements 146, or any combination thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the internal ballistic protective element is an armor insert 103. The armor insert 103 comprises at least one plate or panel 128, and/or blocking element 132. The outer perimeter of the plate 128, panel 128, and/or blocking element 132 is roughly similar in shape and dimension to that of the interior perimeter of a compartment 112 formed by the sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d of a vessel element 100. At least one armor insert 103 is placed into a compartment 112 within a vessel element 100 and occupies at least a fraction of the internal volume thereof as shown in FIGS. 02, 05, 07, 15, and 23. The plates 128, panels 128, and/or blocking elements 132 are primarily responsible for providing the ballistic mitigation performance of the armor insert 103.

One embodiment further comprises a spacing system 137a, 137b. In this embodiment, the spacing system 137a, 137b comprises at least one object that at least partially fills the volume of the compartment 112 of the vessel element 100, and aides in the mitigation of a ballistic threat by at least partially absorbing the energy of the ballistic threat through the deformation of said spacing system. The makeup of the spacing system 137a, 137b may range in number and composition from at least one contiguous synthetic element 137a to naturally occurring and/or synthetic particle fill 137b. A more developed iteration of the preferred embodiment of the armor insert comprises a series of plates 128, panels 128, and/or blocking elements 132 as shown in FIGS. 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 12, 17-21, and 23. These plates 128, panels 128, and/or blocking elements 132 are offset in series in the manner of spaced armor. A ballistic threat will deform and lose its kinetic energy as it passes through said offset plates 128, panels 128, and/or blocking elements 132 in series. In this embodiment, at least one spacing component 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134e is used to provide the offset gap 135 between each layer. The spacing component 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134e may also be referred to as a spacer. The form of the spacing components within the preferred embodiment of the internal protective element may include but is not limited to orthogonally-aligned-rods 134a, interstitial blocking 134b, interstitial-framing 136a, 136b, 134e interstitial-members 134c, and/or interstitial volumetric elements 134d, of any form, shape and arrangement, that making contact with at least two plate 128, panel 128, and/or internal blocking element layers 132, provides the offset between said plates, panels and/or blocking elements. In one embodiment, at least one spacer 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134e is fastened to at least one plate 128, panel 128, and/or blocking element 132. In an alternative embodiment, none of the spacers 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134e are fastened to any plate 128, panel 128, and/or blocking element 132. In the interstitial-framing embodiment, a frame spacing component 134e, 136a, 136b comprises a plurality of orthogonally aligned rods 136a, 136c that are linked by lateral framing rod members 136b as shown in FIGS. 09, 10, 11, and 21. In a similar embodiment, at least one lateral framing rod member 136b is replaced by a truss member 136d or other simple structural member as shown in FIG. 08.

In a preferred embodiment, the interstitial framing 136a, 136b, 136b, 145 is collapsible or compressible to allow for compact storage as shown in FIGS. 10, 11, and 12. A preferred embodiment of the interstitial-framing has a frame spacing component comprising four orthogonally-aligned rods 136a that serve as pivot points and are linked by lateral framing rod members 136b to form a closed rectangular shape as shown in FIG. 10. In this embodiment, the orthogonally-aligned-rods 136a are able to pivot at their attachment points 136e with the lateral framing members 136b. An alternate embodiment of a collapsible frame spacing component has five spacing rods 136a, 136c; the central spacing rod 136c serves as a pivot point and is linked by lateral framing rod members 136b to each of the other spacing rods. In all embodiments, the spacers and/or spacing system may serve secondary functions such as in providing insulation, fire (combustion) abatement, and/or other relevant roles.

In a preferred embodiment of the design, at least one compartment of the vessel element is capable of receiving and containing fill 146, 137b, be it solid fill, particle fill (including soft-armor technologies), liquid fill, and/or phase change material fill along with, or in place of, the armor insert 103 as shown in FIGS. 03 and 27. As such, the seal between sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d and each enclosure surface 106a, 106b is of an appropriate tolerance to prevent the leaking of the respective fill. In one embodiment, this is accomplished through a non-porous seam at the contact points 148 between each sidewall 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d, as well as through the provision of at least one gasket 150 between the top edges of the sidewalls 104a, 104b, 104c, 104d and the face of the enclosure surface 106a, 106b, 118 as shown in FIGS. 03 and 23.

The vessel element and/or the internal armor inserts may be constructed of a wide range of materials, including those that are non-rigid, semi-rigid, rigid, or any combination thereof.

Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.