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Raytheon : Patent Issued for Selectable Yield Warhead and Method

07/16/2014 | 03:50pm US/Eastern

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Defense & Aerospace Week -- Raytheon Company (Waltham, MA) has been issued patent number 8770110, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Ames, Richard (Tucson, AZ); Wittman, Craig L. (Tucson, AZ).

This patent was filed on March 16, 2012 and was published online on July 8, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "A warhead is that part of a bomb, missile, projectile, torpedo, or other munition that contains an explosive charge. In many modern warheads, often it is important to achieve a high energy detonation to provide a maximum destructive effect over a maximum area from the amount of explosive carried by the warhead. Fragmentation explosives generally have a metal casing housing the explosive charge. When the explosive is detonated, the casing breaks into many small fragments, which detonation of the explosive thrusts outward at high speed with destructive effect. The higher the velocity of the fragments, the more intensely and more widespread those effects are felt."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Explosive weapons, which we will refer to as warheads, generally are designed to produce destructive effects over large areas to cover as much of a battlefield as possible and to overcome inaccuracies in delivering the warhead over a large distance. Improved targeting and delivery systems now make is easier to more precisely deliver warheads to a target. As a result, there are circumstances, such as when these weapons are deployed in urban areas, when the warfighter prefers to confine the destructive effects to the region immediately surrounding the intended target, or to minimize collateral damage. The present invention provides a warhead with selectable output, either a high-yield mode for a wide area of damage or a low-yield mode for restricting damage to a confined area.

"The present invention also prevents or minimizes the possibility of unexploded explosive material in the low-yield mode by deflagrating a portion of the explosive charge. The warhead is divided into two or more compartments, each of which can be initiated independently. In a low-yield mode, deflagration charges in one or more compartments consume the explosive charge in the selected compartments before detonating the explosive charge is detonated in one or more other compartments. A separation barrier prevents unintended detonation transfer from one compartment to another, thereby ensuring reliable low-yield operation when fewer than all chambers are detonated. The deflagration charges burn up or otherwise consume the explosive charge without initiating an explosion, and thus preventing high-collateral damage fragmentation of adjacent portions of the casing, thereby reducing the amount of high-speed fragments and explosive force to provide low-yield effects when that mode is required. The dual-mode booster and deflagration charges also provide multiple initiation points in the deflagrating compartment, thereby ensuring that all the non-detonating explosive is consumed and there is minimal or no unexploded ordinance after detonation.

"Accordingly, one aspect of the invention provides a warhead that includes a casing having one or more partitions that separate the casing into multiple compartments. Each compartment includes an explosive charge. The multiple compartments include at least a first compartment with a first explosive charge and a first igniter, and a second compartment separate from the first compartment with a second explosive charge and a second igniter. The second compartment has a deflagration charge for selectively destroying the second explosive charge without detonation.

"Optionally, the partition insulates the second explosive charge in the second compartment to prevent detonation of the explosive charge in an adjacent compartment from deflagration of the second explosive charge in the second compartment.

"As another option, the deflagration charge includes linear-shaped charges interposed between the casing and the second explosive charge to rupture the casing and initiate deflagration of the second explosive charge, and/or the deflagration charge includes a pyrotechnic charge.

"According to another aspect of the invention, a method for activating a selectable yield warhead, includes the following steps: (a) providing a warhead that includes a casing having one or more partitions that separate the casing into multiple compartments, each compartment including an explosive charge, and the multiple compartments include at least a first compartment with a first explosive charge and a first igniter, and a second compartment separate from the first compartment with a second explosive charge and a second igniter, the second compartment having a deflagration charge; (b) selectively initiating the deflagration charge in the second compartment; and © initiating the first igniter to cause detonation of the first explosive charge in the first compartment of the warhead.

"Optionally, the method includes the steps of: (a) initiating the deflagration charge; and (b) initiating the first igniter after a predetermined delay following initiation of the deflagration charge.

"As another option, the method includes the steps of: (a) initiating the second igniter to detonate the second explosive charge; and (b) initiating the first igniter to detonate the first explosive charge substantially simultaneously.

"The step of initiating the deflagration charge may include rupturing the casing.

"The foregoing and other features of the invention are hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims, the following description and annexed drawings setting forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the invention, these embodiments being indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Ames, Richard; Wittman, Craig L.. Selectable Yield Warhead and Method. U.S. Patent Number 8770110, filed March 16, 2012, and published online on July 8, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Raytheon Company, Aerospace and Defense Companies.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2014 NewsRx LLC

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