Browse Prior Art Database

Unmanned Vehicle Launch and Recovery System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030139D
Publication Date: 2004-Jul-29
Document File: 3 page(s) / 31K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Concepts are disclosed for the recovery or launch of unmanned vehicles. These concepts are applicable for both aerial and underwater vehicle recovery. The concepts use a "kite" or tow-body to deploy and control a cable. The cable is fitted with a homing device/beacon. The vehicle is equipped with a receiver and logic to home on the beacon and a cable capture device to attach to the cable. A tractor mechanism may be attached to the cable to move the recovered vehicle to the ship, or to move it from the ship to a launch position. The basic configuration is illustrated in the attached figure.

This text was extracted from a Microsoft Word document.
At least one non-text object (such as an image or picture) has been suppressed.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 48% of the total text.

Unmanned Vehicle Launch and Recovery System

© 2003 Lockheed Martin Corporation.  All Rights Reserved. 

Abstract: Concepts are disclosed for the recovery or launch of unmanned vehicles.  These concepts are applicable for both aerial and underwater vehicle recovery.  The concepts use a “kite” or tow-body to deploy and control a cable.  The cable is fitted with a homing device/beacon.  The vehicle is equipped with a receiver and logic to home on the beacon and a cable capture device to attach to the cable.  A tractor mechanism may be attached to the cable to move the recovered vehicle to the ship, or to move it from the ship to a launch position.  The basic configuration is illustrated in the attached figure.

Problem: Unmanned Vehicle (UV) launch and recovery from a naval platform is difficult, dangerous evolution.  A variety of techniques have been used, including deck landings, flying the vehicles into nets and flying them into the water.

Solution: One solution to this problem is to fly the UV into a cable that is supported by a kite.  Here the term “kite” is used to designate any lifting body that is attached to the naval vessel by a cable.  McGeer [1] claims the idea of using a cable attached to a kite for the recovery of a fixed wing aircraft in confined spaces.  This invention does not appear to be extended to underwater applications, nor does it include the use of a homing device on the cable – necessary/highly desirable for night time or underwater applications.  This patent does not appear to cover launching the vehicle from the cable, though other patents do mention cable assisted launches without a “kite.”  The term kite is also intended to include both negatively and positively buoyant lifting bodies in air.  The flow required to generate lift from the kite and deploy the recovery cable is provided by the movement of the naval vessel relative to the environment.  For underwater recovery it is always possible to generate adequate speed through the water.  For aerial recovery it is possible to generate adequate speed through the air under most conditions.  In fact, recovery will be possible under all but the highest wind conditions.

The kite or tow body (e.g., in water) may be fitted with control surfaces that allow it to be flown either directly behind the recovery vehicle, or off to one side.  The later geometry may provide some added personnel and recovery vehicle protection under some conditions.  A rigid kite is possible.  For aerial recover a rigid kite is probably not preferred due to weight and stowage considerations.  For aerial recovery the self-inflating mattress kites that are commonly used in parachutes appear to offer significant advantages.  For underwater recover a rigid kite or tow-body may be easier to deploy and may offer significant advantages.  For recovery at the air-water interface the tow body and cable can be floated on the surface to the water, reducing the UAV's navigati...