back to article US Navy buys 'Metal Storm' grenade-gasm gun

Metal Storm, an Australian company looking to market a radical gun design, has announced delivery of production weapons to the US military. The firm has also announced a deal to work with famous US robotics maker iRobot. However, its future remains far from assured. Metal Storm superimposed 40mm projectiles Get your gun off …

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Joke

Why not launch a spear?

If the rounds are so close together, it seems stupid that there would be a gap at all. Just make a spear launcher and you get nearly the same wasteful effect.

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Happy

"The really impressive thing about the system is its detection and aiming kit". Err, yeah.

Check this out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS)

"The Phalanx system has never been credited with shooting down any enemy missiles or aircraft.

February 25, 1991, during the first Gulf War, the USS Missouri and the Phalanx-equipped USS Jarrett were in the vicinity of an Iraqi Silkworm missile (often referred to as the 'Seersucker') that had been fired, either at Missouri or at the nearby British destroyer HMS Gloucester. After Missouri fired its SRBOC chaff, the Phalanx system on Jarrett, operating in the automatic target-acquisition mode, fixed upon Missouri's chaff and fired a burst of rounds (not destroying the incoming missile). From this burst, four rounds hit Missouri which was two to three miles (5 km) from Jarrett at the time. There were no injuries.[2] The Silkworm missile was then intercepted and destroyed by a Sea Dart missile launched from Gloucester. Incidentally, this is the first validated, successful engagement of a missile by a missile, during combat at sea."

Some aiming!

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Future Weapons

Saw this on Discovery Channel's "Future Weapons" show - Very impressive bit of kit.

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Stop

when you say...

...'radical gun design', do you mean 'shit'?

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Spy vs Spy

The use that springs to my mind is to load up an umbrella with 10-15 rounds of 10mm caseless or so, and then you have a brilliant covert weapon. Think the Penguins lethal brolly in Batman.

Don't get hung up on RoF: the neat trick is having an automatic rifle that is essentially only a barrel with a battery operated firing mechanism!

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Unhappy

Voomba!

Are you trying to tell my that my mechanized flyswatter plan should look elsewhere? Roomba+ MetalStorm looked promising.

So yes, thanks for ruining my week already. And if you have news about that flying car I've been waiting for, probably best keep it!

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Nev
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Inductive Fired Ordinance

That doesn't sound like a recipe for lots of accidents.

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Silver badge

Title

...announced a memorandum of understanding with well-known American robotics firm iRobot - maker of the Roomba auto vacuum cleaner ...

So now it can thoroughly destroy it's target and clean up the mess afterwards?

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You jaded old hack..

"You could fire both barrels of a shotgun simultaneously, claim they'd gone off a half-millionth-second apart, and say you'd doubled Metal Storm's record."

You could do that, but it would bring a whole new nightmare dimension to the term "meaningless stat". Metal Storm's figures are actually pretty impressive. If 36 barrels fire 180 rounds, rthat equates to each barrel firing 5 rounds in 1/100 of a second. That's pretty impressive, even for a jaded old hack?

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this isn't a news article, it's art

My favorite line:

"Essentially, splurting off huge numbers of superimposed projectiles at flying things in a fraction of a second is fairly foolish, and this has gradually sunk in."

Of course, as someone noted above, Phalanx is itself pretty much untried (or if you look at the evidence they present could even be considered a real-world failure).

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Dead Vulture

Anti-armour

As I understand it, the anti-armour chainguns in 12-30mm calibre that are often carried by attack aircraft rely upon multiple impacts striking the same spot on the target to achieve penetration. Surely cassettes of Metalstorm could be loaded into/clamped onto a long-breeched chaingun and raise the RoF significantly. similarly, RoF tends to increase the number of hits in smallarms work, so if a "cartridge" for a personal weapon actually carried "superimposed rounds", normal bullet scatter would make it more likely for an infantryman to hit a target. I believe one of the approaches to the next generation rifle was along these lines, though with multiple bullets per propellant charge rather than one charge per bullet.

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Anonymous Coward

Forget guns

Will this work with Pez?

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Alert

Freudian Slip

> the Phalanx ... walks its wounds onto target just like a human machine gunner

Sorry -- couldn't resist. I actually think it puts it very well....

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Flame

<fume>

I designed a gun virtually identical to this when I was 16 in 1978 and my dad sent it off to the MoD and US Army boffins, I got a polite letter back saying "thank you very much blah blah" and never heard owt about it again....

Till now!

MY design, my idea! I even used a ruler!

(seriously, I really did come up with something almost exactly the same as this, exactly the same principles. I'm not happy.)

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Boffin

Solution looking for a problem

Another excellent article - wit, facts, and analysis all in one place!

The MetalStorm concept is fairly nifty, albeit more than a bit of a white elephant. There's very little that it can do that isn't already being done better by conventional systems. Some places where it *may* have purpose is in things where you need a long-term sealed shelflife for a fully-loaded firearm, such as in survival kits. MetalStorm-based handguns and Very pistols would be appropiate there, in that they're easily sealed against time and environment, are very simple to operate, and there's not much need for high-capacty in those roles. Even the electronic ignition can be handled by a magneto driven by the trigger or by a squeeze-cocker in the grip. The mechanical simplicity of it may also make MetalStorm suitable for robot sentry duty or in mechanically harsh environments where low ammo capacity is no handicap.

@Michael Fremlins; "Some aiming!"

Whilst amusing, your analysis of the anecdote in question is badly flawed. What you failed to take into account is that *both* systems, the chaff *and* the CWIS, did precisely what they were each intended to do, but did so in unusually close proximity to each other. The chaff system was designed to create a convincing radar decoy image. It did so quite handily. The CWIS is designed to engage nearby unidentified targets, in order of proximity and threat assesment - the large chaff cloud was much closer than the incoming missile, and so was engaged first. CWIS is also programmed to continue engagement on the priority target until that target is defeated, or is no longer a threat. The CWIS unit was doing what it was supposed to be doing.

The problem was two-fold: One, ships were operating much closer than was originally envisaged when CWIS was designed, and Two, no one considered the implications of multiple defensive systems operating in close proximity. Nothing at wrong with the CWIS design or function, per se. As usual, the problem resided in the human element.

@AC; "Anti-armour"

So, take a functional, efficient, proven tank-killing design, and make it needlessly more complex by turning it into a hybrid, in order to do a job that's already quite adequately handled? And actually, aircraft anti-armor weapons *don't* need multiple strikes on the same point to defeat armor. Which is a good thing, because at the engagement ranges involved, even a MetalStorm hybrid would be scattering the shots. And for the superimposed bullets in infantry rifles, the word I think you're looking for is "shotgun." Yeah, multiple projectiles comes up every now and again, but at current bullet weights (and they're looking at going lighter and smaller, too), multiple bullets mean low sectional density per projectile, with consequent loss of penetration and range. Easier to go with small bursts of full-up projectiles and be sure that when the bullets arrive they still pack the 'ooomph' to do their job.

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Paris Hilton

so called military experience shows

All MS's gear have no autoloader mechanism, no belt, no slide, no conventional action or sliding magazine. Mag tubes can be unscrewed and attached to barrels for recycling if necessary, but the barrels are designed to be light and replaceable (they don't need to be thick enough to survive the heat of sustained fire). These are all very real benefits in a dusty or wet environment and in any unmanned system. Anyone with real military background (combat) would recognize this. Methinks Mr. Page's vaunted EOD/military background is about as legit as Paris Hilton's sobriety. Probably made it long enough to get his college money so he could then avoid student loans and b*tch about the hand that fed him.

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Metal Storm's advantages lie in disposable applications

The simple fact that MS relies upon pre-loaded barrels makes this a poor reusuable weapon. However, for something throwaway, it looks rather good, and others have noticed

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002180.html

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To Laird Cummings

Err, no the Phalanx system was not doing what it was supposed to. It was supposed to shoot down the missile. It failed to do so. No getting away from that.

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Coat

Tasers!

Just hit the barrel with a Taser... I wanna see what happens! Oh, and post it on youtube. Are all the terrorists/enemy combatants/innocent civilians in Iraq now going to order Tasers?

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Pirate

Better Idea

The system as presented puts lots of ordinace in a small space in a small timeframe. What if you modified the load of propelant in the rounds this would cuase the rounds to spread over a longer track. heavy loaded rounds would go further than less loaded rounds. Very useful to clear tracks through minefields or oncoming infintery.

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@Michael Fremlins once more

What there's no getting away from is that you're unable to ditinguish between "user error" and "system error."

In the case you've latched onto, it's a case of user error. When you attempt to opperate a system outside design perameters, you get failure. It's a blue-water system; Operating in close proximity with other ships, which ships are also employing defensive systems, is not how it was intended to be used. That the operators *tried* using it in those circumstances is simply because they had no alternate system. So if you want to place blame, don't point at the robot, point at the operators and planners.

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