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Patent granted for mortar projectile that aims to resupply Soldiers

A patent was recently granted to a team of U.S. military engineers and a Naval academy professor for a mortar projectile aptly named the "Ammunition Resupply Projectile."

The concept attempts to solve the problem that urgent resupply of small items such as ammunition can take hours, days, or weeks -- often too long of a delay.

The patent describes a tube-launched projectile that deploys a navigable payload in flight to accurately deliver a payload to a distant target.

Illustration of a resupply mission. Projectile is fired toward the downwind direction of a stranded Solider. In flight, the guided parafoil payload is released, which then executes an optimized maneuver to accurately reach the target.





A tail section is secured to the payload deployment section, which includes a steerable decelerator system. That system also houses a guidance and navigation system made up of electronics, power supply, and a parafoil control mechanism.

When the payload is first separated in flight, it acts like a shell to protect the cargo and it is guided to the intended target via the parafoil with the aid of the guidance and navigation system.

"This concept allows a guided package to be delivered with incredible accuracy (10 m circular error of probability -- CEP) within minutes," said Ryan Decker, one of seven named on the patent application.

Decker, a lead mechanical engineer for the Engineering Analysis and Evaluation Division, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, said there were several inspirations for the design.

"The first being the idea of a Soldier pinned down during battle, who depletes his supply of ammunition and currently has no reasonable method of resupply until rescue arrives," Decker said.

"The second source of inspiration was the development of the ‘Snowflake' miniature guided parafoil system by Professor Oleg Yakimenko of the Naval Postgraduate School," he continued. Yakimenko is also one of the seven patent recipients. "His system was so small that it could be packed into the volume of a cargo projectile. His well-proven guidance algorithm was also the most accurate in the world, enabling precision resupply to a stranded Soldier."

Others named on the patent are ARDEC engineers, Raymond Chaplin, Douglas Chesnulovitch, Gary Dundon, Gregory Farbanish, and Michael Hollis.

"This invention is even more beneficial when it is realized that the payload can be easily swapped from ammunition to any device of similar size such as additional resupply items, surveillance electronics, or even a submunition which can all be delivered accurately and on target," said Decker.

Source: U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center

Published May 2017

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