DESIGN AND PROTOTYPING OF A PORTABLE NAVAL WEAPON CONTROL SYSTEM FOR HEAVY MACHINE GUNS
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Close-in weapon systems (CIWS) are an essential, computer-controlled defensive measure available on modern warships. Due to their size and weight, however, CIWS are deployed only on warships with a displacement over 1000 tons. Smaller ships, such as patrol boats, still carry and use less accurate crew-controlled heavy machine guns. We propose a small, light-weight, and portable CIWS that can be easily installed onto smaller warships. The proposed CIWS incorporates automated target tracking to reduce errors that arise from manual operation. A prototype system, consisting of a stabilizing platform and a gun control unit, was designed and constructed for this research. The prototype incorporated sensors and microcontrollers to provide an automated target tracking capability. Two independent closed-loop controllers were implemented integrating inertial and vison-based sensors to provide automatic stabilization and tracking. A support structure for the prototype was fabricated using parts made with a three-dimensional printer. Through experimental measurement and simulations, performance of the prototype was evaluated and compared favorably with that of existing CIWS systems; however, during the course of this work, we found that several improvements would be required to make the proposed portable CIWS a viable solution. The work highlighted the need for an upgraded inertial sensor, motor gear assemblies that have much less backlash, and stronger supporting structure.
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