US 2879999 A
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2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed Sept. 10, 1954 INVENTOR AERIAL TOW TARGET Leonard S. Marshall, Alexandria, Va.
Continuation of application Serial No. 455,209, September 10, 1954. This application August 16, 1956, Serial No. 604,563
3 Claims. (Cl. 273-1053) The present invention relates to gunnery targets and more particularly and specifically to an aerial gunnery higher altitudes. The construction and design of these prior targets would result, if attempt were made to tow them at high speeds and at high altitudes, in the disin- United States PatentO 2,879,999 Patented Mar. 31 1959 ofiers a maximum of advantageous use and durability in use.
tion will become more readily apparent to those skilled in the art when the following general statement and description are read in the light of the accompanying drawmgs.
The nature of the present invention may be stated in general terms as relating to an aerially towed gunnery target consisting of an aerodynamically streamlined body having vertically and horizontally disposed stabilizers, a tow line universally detachably coupled to the forward end of the target body, and means on the horizontal sta bilizers which are pre-setable to normally induce the body to a nosed-down position when towed in flight.
Referring now to the accompanying drawings in which like numerals designate similar parts throughout the several views:
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of the target constituting the present invention with fragmentary sections broken away for purposes of clearer illustration.
Fig. 2 is a pictorial view illustrating the target secured beneath the towing aircraft.
Fig. 3 is a pictorial view illustrating the towing aircraft and target in close relationship as if in landing approach.
Fig. 4 is a pictorial view illustrating the target in I position of flight behind the towing aircraft.
tegration and breaking up of the target structures due U to wind resistances and extreme low temperatures.
In addition, the prior known aerial tow targets have been objectionable in that there have been no methods known for towing such targets in a plane of flight which would enable other participating fighter aircraft to approach the target for gunnery practice from the rear of the target (at a plus or minus 5 angle-off) without endangering the towing aircraft. Such prior target constructions have heretofore been limited to plus or minus 15 angle-off gunnery passes to preserve the safety of the towing aircraft and its personnel.
It is therefore a principal object of the present invention to provide a new and improved aerial gunnery target capable of being towed at sonic and supersonic speeds at extremely high altitudes by unmodified present day jet aircraft.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an aerial tow target with preset controls which maintain the target in a flight plane to the rear of and below the towing aircraft to permit gunnery passes by other aircraft from a maximum of points of approach without endangering the towing aircraft.
A still further object of this invention is the provision of an aerial tow target of such a configuration and construction as to enable it to carry electronic scoring de-' vices and operating mechanism therefor, and to permit it to withstand near and direct hits by inert head ammunition of the type utilized in gunnery practice.
Still another object of this invention is the provision of an aerial gunnery tow target which is adapted to serve advantageously as an air-to-air aircraft target as well as a high speed anti-aircraft target.
. Still'another object and advantage of this invention is to provide an aerial tow target which is of a relatively simple and inexpensive design and manufacture which Referring initially to Fig. 1 of the drawings there is disclosed the aerial tow target constituting the present invention in which the particular and specific form and design shown are for the purposes of illustrating an operable embodiment, and it is fully contemplated and un-- derstood that various modifications can be made in wing shape, design and configuration without departing from the spirit and intended scope of the present invention.
It is further desired that it be understood that the embodiments disclosed herein are described for the purpose of illustrating an aerial tow target which satisfies theobjects and advantages heretofore set forth and which enables the attainment of the substantially new and improved functions obtained through the use of a tow target constructed in accordance with the present invention.
The tow target, generally designated at 10 includes a body portion 12 which takes the form of an aerodynamically streamlined fuselage having a nose end 14 and a tail end 16. The fuselage is provided withhorizontal,
stabilizers 18 which in the present form take the shape of a delta-wing configuration which are secured longitudinally of the sides of the fuselage to project in a horizontal plane outwardly and rearwardly therefrom A vertical stabilizer 20, taking the form of a delta-wing configuration is secured longitudinally to the top of the fuselage to extend vertically and rearwardly therefrom.
The nose end of the fuselage 14 is provided with a universal type swivel ring 22 which is adapted to receive a coupling therein on the tow line from the towing air-. craft, and cavity chambers 24 and 26 are provided withp in the fuselage immediately rearwardly of the nose portion, and said cavities are adapted to receive a firing error indicator mechanism, such as the Armour Institute Spherical Proximity Scorer, together with a wind driven,
turbine-type generator for supplying power to the indicator mechanism wherein a funnelled air stream can be taken'off the fuselage and directed into the generator within the cavity chamber. Additional internal chamber area can be optionally provided for the location of j Still other objects and advantages of the present inven- I enerating equipment for lighting the target for night gunnery use; for remotely controlled electrical parachute release mechanism; for electronic radar transponder mechanism; and for any other additional electronic computmg or control mechanisms desired to be carried by the target.
Additional internal chamber area 28 is provided ad- Jacent the tail end of the fuselage for the purpose of housing parachute equipment for lowering the target upon release from the towing aircraft and for the housing of additional radar reflecting equipment such as the reflector 30 on the extreme tail end of the fuselage which may be secured thereto by a screw or Zeus-fastened coupling.
' Additional appurtenances on the fuselage section of the tow target would include lug couplings 32 for cooperative action with coupling elements on the towing aircraft for securing the target to the underside of the aircraft either beneath the pylon rack or to the bomb shackles on the underside of a conventional aircraft wing. At the same time telemeter antennas 34 of aerodynamically streamlined configuration, would be mounted externally of the fuselage for transmitting radar information from the proximity scorer mechanism within the fuselage to ground receiving stations.
To complete the construction of the target, the extreme end portions of the horizontal stabilizers would be angularly off-set as at 36 to provide pre-set elevational fins normally inducing the target'when in flight to a nosed down position whereby the target will at all times seek a flight path of maximum depression below the flight plane of the towing aircraft for the purpose of allowing participating fighter craft to approach the target from the stern or rear thereof at plus or minus angle-off approach whereby the towing aircraft will not be endangered by gunnery runs from such approaches due to its rearward, downward location relative to the towing craft.
It is important in the construction of a target of the type hereinbefore described that the materials utilized therein be of a shatterproof character and that such material be resistant to the stress and friction of high speed flight and to the extreme low temperatures encountered at extremely high altitudes. By way of example, it has been discovered that certain compositions of laminated fiber glass are capable of withstanding the temperatures, frictions and stresses which would be encountered by such a target if it were towed at altitudes of 40,000 to 50,000 feet and at speeds equal or exceeding Mach 1.0. It is of course stressed that the aerodynamic design of the body herein disclosed utilizing the swept-back or delta-type stabilizers together with the teardrop fuselage design will permit the target to be towed at sonic or supersonic speeds to provide an' aerial gunnery target which is of utility in gunnery practice participated in by our present day modern jet aircraft.
As is seen in Fig. 2 of the drawings the target would at time of take off and prior to release be secured to the pylon or bomb rack of an unmodified jet fighter with the swivel ring in the nose portion being coupled to a short bungee of nylon or the like, which bungee is attached to a tow cable the second end of which would be secured to a suitable type tow reel mechanism mounted within a streamlined tank or casing 38 secured to a pylon rack or bomb shackle beneath the aircraft in a balanced position relative to the initial point of attachment of the target.
Fig. 4 illustrates the target 10 being towed beneath the towing aircraft showing the rearward and depressed flight plane of the target relative to the towing craft caused by the preset elevator tips on the horizontal target stabilizers. The elliptical diagrammatic designations 40 in Fig. 4 of the drawings schematically illustrate the. electronic field established concentrically about the target by the firing error indicator mechanism within the target thereby designating the field within which the proximity scorer will record and transmit near misses to the target while at the same time designating the actual location of the near miss relative to the target whether it is leading or trailing and/or above or below the target.
Fig. 3 of the drawings illustrates the procedure for bringing the target to ground after it has been utilized which consists in reeling in the target to a close position rearwardly of the towing aircraft for the purpose of reducing the'cable drag whereupon the target is towed to a point above the landing field whereupon the remote controlled parachute release mechanism is activated and the tow target simultaneously released from the towing aircraft whereupon the target is parachuted to its desired landing point.
In addition to the foregoing it is contemplated as desirable that the target be covered a red or orange tone paint interspersed with a reflective material, such as metallic powder, mica or the like, which will enhance visibility of the target for gunnery both at high altitudes and under poor natural lighting conditions. Such painting of the target would be in place of or in addition to providing lighting on the target itself through the utilization of a wind powered generator within the target for energizing visual lighting aids externally of the target.
Thus from the foregoing it can be seen that an aerial tow target is provided by the present invention which is capable of being utilized at extremely high speeds and high altitudes and which can be towed by unmodified present day fighter aircraft of the jet propelled type. It is further seen that the target herein disclosed and claimed makes available a gunnery target for present day high speed fighter aircraft which enables gunnery practice by said aircraft which has not been possible heretofore by reason of the failure of prior aerial targets to provide construction capable of being towed at sonic and supersonic speeds and at altitudes attainable by the present construction.
Therefore, having fully described and explained my invention and operable embodiments thereof which attain and accomplish all the objects and advantages heretofore set forth, what I desire to claim is:
1. In combination with a self-propelled aircraft having a tow cable trailing therebehind, a high-altitude, highspeed gunnery target comprising, an aerodynamically streamlined fuselage having vertically and horizontally projecting swept-back stabilizers, a swivel coupling on the forward end of the fuselage secured to the tow cable, and the extreme tip end portions of the horizontally projecting stabilizers being elf-set downwardly and rearwardly from the stabilizer presenting a planar surface disposed at such an angle to the axis of the target as to offer effective opposition to forward movement thereof whereby the fuselage will assume a flight plane below that of the towing aircraft.
2. An aerial tow target comprising an aerodynamically streamlined body of circular transverse configuration diminishing in diameter from a central portion longitudinally thereof toward the nose and tail ends thereof, a stabilizer of triangular configuration secured vertically along an edge thereof longitudinally of the uppermost surface of the body from a point intermediate the length of the body throughout the tail end thereof, a pair of stabilizers of triangular configuration secured along corresponding side edges thereof longitudinally of the opposed side surfaces of the body in the same horizontal plane from points intermediate the length of the body through the tail end thereof, the projected apex ends of the triangular horizontal stabilizers being off-set downwardly and rearwardly from the stabilizer presenting a. planar surface disposed. at such an angle to the axis of the target as to offer effective opposition to forward. movement thereof, and means on the nose end. of said body for attachment to a tow line.
3. A high-speed, high-altitude, aerial tow target comprising an aerodynamically streamlined body with vertical and horizontal delta-wing stabilizers, the horizontal delta-wing stabilizers having their rearward tips bent downward at a pre-set angle, the longitudinal dimension of said body ranging from about five to about ten feet, the maximum diameter of said body ranging from about twenty-four to about thirty inches, said body being constructed of laminated fiber glass and having its entire exterior surface painted with red-tone reflective paint for maximum high altitude visibility, said body having lugs thereon whereby it may be suspended from a tow aircraft, and said body having a swivel ring on the nose of 6 the leading edge thereof for attachment of a tow cable thereto.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,122,766 Wiemer July 5, 1938 2,183,540 Campbell Dec. 19, 1939 2,243,618 Brown May 27, 1941 2,448,587 Green Sept. 7, 1948 10 2,747,876 Teller May 29, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS Great Britain Mar. 7, 1945
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