Patent application title: SIMULATED WEAPON SYSTEM
Andrew W. Garvis (Sorrento, FL, US)
Richard E. Johnson (Debary, FL, US)
INDUSTRIAL SMOKE & MIRRORS, INC.
IPC8 Class: AF41A3300FI
Class name: Education and demonstration organized armed or unarmed conflict or shooting gunnery
Publication date: 2016-05-26
Patent application number: 20160146563
This invention relates to a Gatling-type machine gun simulated weapon
system having a feeder de-linker which is capable of replicating
malfunctions including a weapon jamming condition.
1. A simulated weapon system, comprising: a housing; a number of barrels
mounted to said housing; a drive motor coupled to said barrels, said
drive motor being operative to rotate said barrels; a feeder de-linker
mounted to said housing, said feeder de-linker being operative to feed
inert ammunition through said housing and to simulate the occurrence of a
weapon malfunction; a spade grip connected to said housing, said spade
grip including a vibration device, at least one trigger and an arming
switch, said spade grip being connected to said drive motor and to said
2. The simulated weapon system of claim 1 in which said at least one trigger of said spade grip includes a low rate trigger and a high rate trigger.
3. The simulated weapon system of claim 2 in which said drive motor is operative to rotate said barrels at a different rate dependent on which one of said low rate and high rate triggers is activated.
4. The simulated weapon system of claim 1 in which said weapon malfunction is a jam condition, said feeder de-linker being operable to simulate a jam condition in response to contact within a round of inert ammunition having a dented casing.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to a simulated weapon system, and, more particularly, to a Gatling-type machine gun weapon simulator having a feeder de-linker which is capable of replicating malfunctions including a weapon jamming condition.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 M134 weapons have been in use since the early 1960's. Nicknamed the "minigun", the M134 has been adopted my various military branches to provide suppressive fire and locale denial capabilities. The United States Army version is designated the M134, the United States Air Force version is designated GAU-2 and the United States Navy version is designated GAU-17. The M134 is a six-barrel 7.62×51 mm NATO round Gatling-type machine gun. The gun is electrically operated and ammunition is belt-fed using a powered feeder de-linker module installed on the gun. To operate the weapon, a master arm switch is enabled and a trigger is depressed. M134 variants have fixed rates of fire from 2,000 to well over 10,000 rounds per minute, and may be mounted on helicopter gunships, ground vehicles, armed patrol boats and fixed wing aircraft.
 Training of warfighters is the U.S. military's number one priory in peace and war time. As a result of reductions in defense budgets, live fire exercises have been increasingly limited and must be supplemented with weapon simulations. With the adoption of the philosophy "train as we fight," emphasis has been given to increasing the realism of weapon simulations which can no longer merely provide recoil feedback but must include tactile manipulation of all system components. The goal is to provide trainees with the opportunity to correct mistakes and refine the manipulation of their weapon system, without injury or loss of life.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 This invention is directed to a weapon simulator system for use in training environments, wherein the trainee is required to operate the weapon, identify malfunctions, and correctly resolve/clear such malfunctions while providing real-time suppressive fire for ground troops, soft target installations or light armor training scenarios. The simulated M134 weapon system of this invention includes a six-barrel 7.62×51 mm NATO round Gatling-type machine gun wherein the six-barrels are rotated using an electric motor. Inert/dummy ammunition is drawn from an ammunition belt using a feeder de-linker and ejected from the weapon. The system is capable of simulating multiple fixed rates of fire, recoil, and, malfunctions such as jammed rounds, misfires and round cook-offs.
 In the presently preferred embodiment, the six rotating barrels may be of varying length and can be rotated at different rates. The feeder de-linker feeds inert ammunition carried by a belt through the weapon. The system is operative to simulate a jam, similar to what occurs in an actual weapon, by feeding a dented round into the feeder de-linker. The round may be dented prior to placement into an ammunition can coupled to the feeder de-linker Alternatively, the round may be dented by a round denting device such as a solenoid-operated hammer or an electric motor with a cam, or the like, which dents the round prior to it being drawn into the feeder/de-linker.
 The weapon simulator of this invention is provided with a spade grip comprising a recoil motor, a low rate trigger, a high rate trigger, a safety off/enable/arming switch, an armed light indicator and a push-to-talk button. Sensors are included in the system to denote that the feeder/de-linker is installed, that a safing sector or top cover is closed and that ammunition is present. The weapon simulator further includes a vertical mount which comprises a gun mount, a pitch angle sensor and an azimuth angle sensor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The structure, operation and advantages of a presently preferred embodiment of this invention will become further apparent upon consideration of the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the weapon simulator system of this invention;
 FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 viewed at a different angle;
 FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 except including a vertical mount assembly with a pitch angle sensor and azimuth angle sensor;
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the feeder de-linker module of the weapon simulator system herein;
 FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 viewed at a different angle;
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the spade grip of the weapon simulator system; and
 FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the spade grip depicted in FIG. 6.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Referring now to the drawings, a weapon simulator system 10 is illustrated which simulates the U.S. Army M134 weapon, e.g. a six-barrel, 7.62×51 millimeter NATO round Gatling-type machine gun. The system 10 comprises a housing 12 which mounts a drive motor 14 coupled to a barrel assembly 16. Preferably, the barrel assembly 16 includes six individual barrels 18 which may be of different length. A feeder de-linker module 20 is mounted to the housing 12 which operates to feed rounds of ammunition (not shown) through the system 10. The housing 12 may be connected to a vertical mount assembly 22 having a pitch angle sensor/encoder 24 and an azimuth angle sensor/encoder 26. The assembly 22 may be supported by structure (not shown) of a helicopter gunship, ground vehicle, armed patrol boat or fixed wing aircraft.
 A spade grip 28 is mounted at the rear of the housing 12, opposite the barrel assembly 16, and is coupled to the drive motor 14. The spade grip 28 includes grip arms 30, 32 connected between a bottom plate 34 and a top plate 36 which houses a vibration device 38 which may take the form of a voice coil. A fire panel 40 is mounted to the top plate 36 which supports a low rate trigger 42, a safety off/enable/arming switch 44, an armed light indicator 46, a high rate trigger 48 and a push to talk button 50. With the switch 44 in an armed position, depression of either of the triggers 42, 48 causes the drive motor 14 to rotate the barrel assembly 16. The rate of rotation of the barrel assembly 16 depends on which trigger 42, 48 is depressed, i.e. at a low rate of 2,000 rpm or a high rate of 4,000 rpm.
 The simulator 10 of this invention is capable of simulating weapon malfunctions, including jammed rounds, misfires and round cook-offs. In order to simulate a jammed round, a dented round (not shown) is fed into the feeder de-linker 20. The round may be dented prior to placement in a belt received by the feeder de-linker, or a round denting device may be employed in the simulator 10 such as a solenoid-operated hammer or an electric motor with a cam which forms a dent in the casing of the round prior to introduction into the feeder de-linker.
 While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.