Accession Number:



Elastomeric Launch Assembly and Method of Launch

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Patent application, Filed 10 Aug 2002

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The present invention relates to an elastomeric launch assembly for expelling a device from a vehicle that is operationally insensitive to ambient pressure and that can launch the device, such as a countermeasure, defensive weapon, or an offensive weapon with variable energy. It is well known that submarines must be capable of delivering weapons and other devices from externally stowed modules or tubes to defend themselves against attacking torpedoes and other threats. Conventional launch assemblies utilize chemical gas generators to force the devices from their launch tubes. Because conventional launch assemblies rely upon pressure developed at the base of the devices inside of the launch tubes, they are sensitive to ambient pressure. At depths of greater than about several hundred feet the ambient pressure can prevent the launched devices from achieving acceptable launch velocities. A launch assembly having an elastomeric tube for launching a device is disclosed. To launch the device an outboard end of the tube is movable outwardly along the length of a housing by an extending device, while the inboard end of the tube is restrained by a release mechanism and remains stationary. Thus, as the outboard end moves and the inboard end remains stationary, the elastomeric tube elongates. The tube may be elongated a predetermined amount, at which time the inboard end of the tube is released by the release mechanism. Releasing the inboard end allows it to travel toward the now stationary outboard end with a sufficient velocity to launch the device. The amount of elongation of the tube is related to the amount of possible launch energy. Thus, greater elongation of the tube provides a greater launch velocity, while shorter elongation provides a reduced launch velocity, as desired. 6 figures

Subject Categories:

  • Undersea and Antisubmarine Warfare
  • Submarine Engineering

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