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back to article Metal Storm reveals pocket bunker-buster test outcome

Australian deathtech firm Metal Storm, which uses a centuries-old idea to produce amazing weapons which can empty themselves with exceptional suddenness, has announced tests of a new handy-size thermobaric bunker buster man-cannon. The company has also issued half a million Aussie dollars' worth of new shares. In a release …

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Fire did not make it good

I doubt that these 40mm rounds contain what is usually thought of as an FAE (fuel-air explosive), & while there are several ways to thermobaric destruction (a flame-thrower counts) I expect these will have a high-explosive core that projects combustible gunk outwards. The gunk starts burning as it encounters the air & creates a fireball. The thermobaric (heat & pressure) blast is really good against soft, fleshy targets in confined spaces. First the burning stuff rushes past you, then is more gently pulled back inwards (Kadenesky effect, if memory serves), which tends to get fire into every nook & cranny. Nasty, or effective, depending on which side of the muzzle you're standing.

There simply isn't room in a 40mm round for all the clever fuzing required for an FAE.

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Stop

Militsoapy titwank

Oh good, nothing like loads of sloppy love-ins for the death machines. So tell us again why the Reg thinks slavvering coverage of military hardware belongs on an IT site? And why there is no ethical considerations applied to these stories?

Lewis, you may get a hard-on from military stuff, but please do remember that it's used to KILL PEOPLE. Talking about it purely in terms of the military's euphemistic performance descriptions is shallow and craven.

I drive past a guy with a tin can at a traffic light every morning with one arm, and one leg. The other bits were blown off by a land mine.

Now piss off with your cheering parade for the arms industry, where companies build ever more horrific weapons to take on other manufacturers horrors justified in a cynical circularly referencing argument.

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TEQ
Thumb Up

A round of applause to Dodge

I totally concur.

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@ dodge

Hey, if some poor sod is going to get his limbs blown off, the least that we can do is make sure that it's done with shiny new technology - preferably something with lasers on it.

Beside, have you seen the videos of these things? They're amazing.

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Happy

@dodge

I suspect that Lewis was indulging in a bit of sarcasm.....

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Flame

It seems that ...

the Australian Stock Exchange will prostitute themselves to any company. No sign of ETHICAL investment there, then.

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Anonymous Coward

@dodge

nice one dodge, although i have to say that Lewis normally casts a highly critical eye on the deathware industry, and its there in this article, but then it does invite comments like the first. I say we need someone to keep an eye on the despicable fruits of these people's life effort, they are after all engineers like us at some level, just took a wrong turn somewhere and are now useless for any other work.

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Coat

@dodge

One way or another, the right and freedom that you exercise in flapping your lips and spouting your liberal claptrap was secured by people willing to fight (and sometime die) to secure those rights.

I don't know anyone that gets a "hard-on" from killing people but, if it ever comes down to it, I want the best and best-trained soldiers with the best weapons on my side.

--flack jacket, please.

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Bob

HOT. No pun intended.

Video or it didn't happen.

A nice youtube of this with a few beers and a little lube, mmmm. That'd make for a pleasant evening.

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Happy

RE: dodge

Well, the Metal Storm uses high-tech in their systems, especially as they are often considered for robot gun solutions, so they scrape in under the IT interest banner. Besides, us real geeks like stuff go bang-bang purrehty splodey. So please go stick your head in a hippie's armpit.

By the way, we had a drunk round the corner from where I grew up who'd lost his legs falling off a motorbike whilst p*ssed. He used to tell any mug who'd listen that he'd lost his legs in all manner of heroic ways - defusing an IRA bomb, parachuting into the Borneo jungle, stepping on a landmine....

Myself, I just don't see the three-shot as a seller as the old M203 is cheaper and lighter, and simpler revolver solutions (like the Mikor MGL-140 which the USMC has bought as the M-32) are already on the market. The revolver launchers have big advantages in that they can use any of the current 40mm ammo, they have a larger capacity, and they can change loads mid-patrol if required (how do I unload my thermobaric Metal Storm three-shot so I can have a volley of thermo then HE then frag?). Revolver launchers have the disadvantage that they mean a dedicated weapon which can mean one less rifle in the squad, though the Marines seem tough enough to carry one and a slung M-16A2 at the same time. Unlike the highly specialised Metal Storm ammo (or the 25mm ammo of the XM-25), the M-32 uses the same ammo as the M203s already in the squad, so ammo sharing is another benefit - how do I prise open my Metal Storm three-shot to give another GLer in the squad who's out of ammo a round to fire at the same time as me? Plus the M-32 is already tested and proven (and apparently much liked by the jarheads). Apart from the armchair-warrior appeal of the personal three-shot, I'd say that Metal Storm will have more luck with the bigger vehicle units.

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Black Helicopters

deathware flops

C'mon, what's more fun than a deathware flop, that goes way over budget and then underperforms in the real world. Anyone who doesn't see the IT angle in *that* should stop masturbating and have a look around. The boys in olive drab have been intertwined with technology since the invention of Greek Fire, and intertwined with IT since the Royal Navy commissioned the construction of Babbage's analytical engine.

Personally, the only thing I love more than something that goes boom, is something that totally fails to go boom when you stand up and say, "Hay, watch this..."

Anonymous Coward, because we're talking about weapons.

Black Helicopters for the same reason.

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Coat

@Dodge, @James

Surely you'd prefer people to be killed quickly rather than die slowly in the ground (or sit on the ground with a tin can) because of being merely badly injured? So developing newer, more powerful weapons is surely in the humanitarian interest if you realise that war's not going to stop.

@James specifically: Whose ethics would they base their decisions on? And how would a company be able to make lots of profits (on which they pay taxes and with which they pay their employees, contractors, etc) if they had to always be entirely in-line with everyone's ethics?

The world is an unpleasant and complicated place. There will always be aggressors, and hence defenders. So there will always be war and there will always be a need for an arms industry. And as they're leading us closer to wars where deaths are quick rather than painful and lingering (or overly violent, beating/stoning style deaths) they're entirely ethical.

I rest my case, and I get my coat. It's the heatproof, kevlar-lined NBC hoodie...

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@dodge et al

Right - 'death machines'. We'll send you into battle with an eco-friendly stick then? Oh no, wait... that might involve cutting down or maiming a tree.

It's the world we live in and as much as I would like to see that aspect of it change it isn't going to.

Don't like the stories? Don't read them. Why did you read this one... do you sit and watch television programs on subjects you don't like or approve of and then complain about them? Oh, judging by your actions here, I suspect you do.

To paraphrase: Dodge, you may get a hard-on from disapproving, but please do remember that it's used to BORE PEOPLE.

Like it or not, the tech is often ingenious and interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

"death tech"

> Metal Storm has never made many sales and is taking a long time to bring a combat-ready product to market.

That implies its has made no sales at all. So calling it a "suicide tech" company might be more correct, cos it takes the VC, runs, and eventually declares itself bankrupt.

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@dodge & TEQ

Although it is almost certain that someone who thought that this was an article extolling the virtues of the arm trade will be incapable of grasping the concepts below here goes.

Military hardware often brings about civilian technology, regardless of whether you agree with the market, being aware of what is going on in it is beneficial. In the case of Metal Storm, it is an interesting lesson in how to run a company that sells nothing for over ten years.

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Flame

Louie, Louie, Louie...

Deathtech firm? Grenade-gasm? I see good ol' Louie Page is back to his old leftist tricks again. You keep putting down the military and the companies that work with them, good buddy, and they'll keep defending your right to do so.

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Thumb Up

Military hardware often brings about civilian technology

Yeah - good point, well made! The untold billions spent on the arms industry would never have been better spent in non-military research. The unbounded misery caused by wars and conflict are absolutely justified because we get to have Hummer H2s and longer-range Boeings.

I can absolutely see the harm-reward balance there.

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Pirate

Not Dodge

That wouldn't by chance be Dodge as in the car maker currently dragging Diamler into fiscal oblivion is it? Just wondering since both have such similar grasp on how the world works. Sorry, low hanging fruit (the joke not dodge) --- YES, I went there again! And this time I bought property!!

Anyhow, with all due disrespect for the the eco-terrorists, I really have to agree that metal storm is a solution that has yet to, and probably never will find a problem. It is heavy, complex, ghastly expensive, and most importantly, not reloadable in any practical time frame.

It may have suckered in some militaries during the cold war, when the order of the day would have been to shoot all 50,000 of your rounds before you're dead in 45 seconds. But it is a truly terrible fit for the protracted, man mobile, attrition based conflicts we face today.

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Pirate

Circular arguments

Sigh. I hoped I'd not have to spell out the blindingly obvious, but I guess not.

>One way or another, the right and freedom that you exercise in flapping your lips

>and spouting your liberal claptrap was secured by people willing to fight (and

>sometime die) to secure those rights.

People fight and struggle. Once they used to brain each other with giraffe femurs or stabbed them with some sharpened dung. But now technology allows them to maim and mutiliate not one, but THOUSANDS. Without even getting off their chair. That people fight and struggle is tautology. That the arms industry profits out of this, and escalates it by investing valuable resources into it is the fault ONLY of the arms industry and it's customers.

It's like saying "lawyers are needed, otherwise who'd protect us from the other lawyers"? Remember the bit about circular arguments? Your argument, AC@14:12, is circular and spurious. And I suspect you're one that never goes closer than Discovery Channel from actual armed conflict.

People fought and died stopping the Nazis -- because the Nazis had awesome weapons. No weapons, no problem. Or at least, less spent on developing super-duper weapons, less of a problem. And when you spend zillions building weapons, the temptation to use them is pretty damn strong. It's a solution looking for a problem. And most of the time, it finds one. Or makes one.

I love insane science and awesome tech prowess -- but let's not forget what military tech is being used to do. And that is maim and kill. Rather build awesome Priuses that look like Star Trek shuttles. Actually, dont. Sink it into F1 and better paragliding kit.

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Flame

Redneck alert. Mr Hoshi, load nuclear weapons into tubes one to four!

"One way or another, the right and freedom that you exercise in flapping your lips and spouting your liberal claptrap was secured by people willing to fight (and sometime die) to secure those rights."

This is and stays a dumbass homilie that can only be consumed by folks with the intellectual capability of Dubya, or lower. Go away.

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Flame

Ethics be damned sometimes.

Hey lets not lump everyone into one group. I'm a pinko lefty liberal who serves in the military and while deployed to a warzone, I can tell you the unofficial rule for a gunfight: 1. Bring a gun, preferrably two; a big one and smaller one as a backup. 2 Bring all your friends that have guns too. 3 Make sure your ish is better than the other guys.

I believe in no firearms back home (none at all) but I'd be a fool to think I don't want the biggest baddest, and lightweight incapacitating equipment available because if your trying to kill me and I catch up to you...you better believe that I'm going to F$#k you up!!!

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Black Helicopters

Where's my frikkin' rocket-propelled chainsaw?

Or my knifewrench, for that matter? Tried and true technologies married together, rather than this hodgepodge of made-up guff, that's the weapontech of the future. At least until we get some decent phased plasma rifles, anyway.

@Terry: hate to break it to you, but Daimler (note the spelling) flogged the majority of the sack of bricks that is Chrysler off to venture capitalists a mere 8 months ago, although I'm having some difficulty understanding why you bring that topic up in the first place. Is it perhaps an example of American military ingenuity derived from incompetence, or, as it's better known, "friendly fire"?

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Boffin

How much bang are we talking about anyway?

One 40mm grenade = about half a cup of payload. Granted if you toss fuel rather than explosive you're upping the energy (no weight wasted on oxidizer) but you have to disperse it in air to get the bang.

Grenades are about creating havoc with shrapnel. These things seem to be about creating a lot of noise and pressure. Granted it'll ruin anybody's day, but no bunkers will be busted.

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Oh get over it

Oh dear, end of a long day...

It would be nice to see all the bleeding-heart think-of-the-children BS artists live up to their ideals and refuse to participate in or use the products of the military death-tech industry... in other words - Get Off The Internet! That's right - remember Arpanet? Or as it would be known today - Darpanet? The (successful) effort to create a military network capable of surviving all out war? Now known as the Internet?

I used to be one of you - until I woke up one day and realised that all the pretty, heart-felt yapping had absolutely nothing to do with the real world. Nothing. The arms race has been the way of the world since some monkey threw the first rock. Get over it.

Can't we just live in peace? No, apparently not (see other comment section regarding the acceptability of assaulting someone over lost luggage for a nice example of crap behaviour on a micro-scale).

Be prepared.

And let's send our soldiers out there with the most deadly weapons we can invent.

Don't want to see or hear about it? Close your eyes, cover your ears, and dance around singing 'Give Peace a Chance' etc.

Oh wait a minute... for all practical purposes you're already doing that.

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Black Helicopters

@Adam Foxton

Quote:"Surely you'd prefer people to be killed quickly rather than die slowly in the ground (or sit on the ground with a tin can) because of being merely badly injured? So developing newer, more powerful weapons is surely in the humanitarian interest if you realise that war's not going to stop."

Agree from the humanitarian interest, however, from the military interest, less instantly lethal weapons are more effective. Some poor grunt with no legs screaming his last, but not just yet is a more effective result.

It demoralises the enemy, and takes out several more who look to get medical help to the fallen comrade.

Its the same mentality as cost accountancy

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IT Angle

Pah,

things that fly a little distance and go boom are so last century...

They need Proactive Electron Effectors for InterActive Engagement (go, Col. Parks, go!)

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@dave

and the grunt on the ground would rather just make them dead as quick and finaly as possable...theres reason you are trained to be bloody carefull checking bodies...

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Pirate

RE: dodge

Actually, the Nazis are a great example of Metal Storm-like tech cr*p. They invested massive amounts of time and resources in technically impressive but strategicly worthless projects instead of concentrating on building reliable and useful weapons systems in large numbers. The much vaunted German jets killed more Luftwaffe pilots in crashes than Allied aircrews in combat. What the Allies did relatively well was decide which developments could lead to useable weapons. So it seems you know as little about history as you do about the modern world. Please stop your liberal hand-wringing and use them instead to read a few books, maybe formulate an opinion instead of being spoonfed others'.

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@Dodge & co.

[People fight and struggle. Once they used to brain each other with giraffe femurs or stabbed them with some sharpened dung. But now technology allows them to maim and mutiliate not one, but THOUSANDS. Without even getting off their chair] by Dodge

I refer you to Xerxes, Hannibal, Ghengis Khan, many Caesers etc. You think killing thousands of people, sometimes whilst sat thousands of miles away in your palace/posh tent, is something new? History says otherwise. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that it ain't original.

I wrote loads more but it's too much. Basically the society you live in is predicated on the threat of violence. Whether that be from baliffs when you fail to pay your mortgage, police when you beat an 80 year old woman to the floor, or soldiers when you invade a foreign country, violence is the last resort if you don't comply.

If you want to live in a world where it's not just you paying the bills, where kids aren't given carte blanche to kick ppl to death in the street, and invading countries and subjugating their populations is normal, you have to accept state sanctioned violence is going to occur because - as bad as it is - it isn't always the worst option.

If you disagree you should maybe speak with a few refugees from Darfur, or how about a couple of Jews that are 70+. Or maybe see what it's like to have a few police officers stood around saying "no, don't stamp on that guys head" whilst a dozen kids kick you to death (not that I wish any ill on you - I don't. Just pointing out that violence has its uses)

Unfortunately this crap system we have means we need people to carry out that violence - police officers, soliders etc. Would you sign up to be a police officer if all they gave you was a giraffe femur and a thick coat? Or would you want a secure radio to call for assistance, a tonfa (the black 't' shaped stick they beat ppl with - traditional Chinese weapon), kevlar etc? Pretty sure I would...

PS. This article was a finance article, so your "IT angle?" complaint should be about that rather than war porn.

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Silver badge

To quote Plato

"The greatest Forge of Civilisation is War".

No matter how much you hate military death tech you have to admit Plato had a point.

The continuous wars between the European powers throughout the last 2 millenium meant that they became the power houses of the world. When the Spanish invaded South America they easily accounted for the Aztecs because of their military superiority. No one would claim that the Aztecs were more technologically advanced then the Spanish and the reason is that the continuous military development forced on the Spanish by the wars in Europe meant that they were forced to spend time and money developing new solutions to problems. All of which filters down to the common man. The Aztecs lived in peace and so had no drive to improve there technological standing.

On a separate topic, if you shut down ALL of the arms companies and their various subsidiaries around the world 50% of the world's populations would be unemployed. More than that in the states!

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Coat

Accurate Clocks

...Accurate Clocks gave the Royal Navy a serious competitive edge in command, control and destroy stakes...

...but, now you all sit there with your Tags, casio and timex watches smuggly on your wrist!

...still ahrd to see how we would convert the metalstorm for a peacful purpose? That said, judicious use by Londonds Finest Boys in Blue (The police not Chelsea FC, that is) would certainly clear the streets of scum!

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Silver badge
Flame

Ho Hum, rant ahead....

It's not the weapons that kill, it's the assholes that start the wars.

History is written by the victorious.

If Hitler had won, he would be a hero

Starlin, Gengis Kahn, Pol Pot, Sadam Hussian all seen as heros by their supporters, as evil dictators by the people they killed and oppressed.

Bush, Blair, heros who rid the world of an evil dicator or the people responible for more deaths than the dictator?

The IRA & PLO, freedom fighters or terrorists? Depends on your point of view.

Unfortunatly there are to many trigger happy murderers on both sides of a war and innocent civillians will die.

WW1, the Great War, 15,000,000 dead, what was so fucking great about it?

These are great weapons, so long as you not on the receving end.

To call people who oppose war tree huggers, is a very sad reflection on society. What is wrong with not wanting to kill people? At the same time I understand why we build the weapons to "defend" ourselves, but rememeber, they could easily be used against us.

The car bomb was invented by the Terrorists / Freedom fighters, funded by the US. A little known organisation called the IRA. Now it is being used to kill US soldiers. In the earlier days of the first gulf war, many of the weapons used to kill Allied troops, we actually supplied by Allied forces (remember we supported Iraq over Iran!)

Not doubt in a few years time, these same weapons will be killing our guys....

So why am I so anti weapons? Well having a friend injured by an IRA bomb, and myself walking past one that failed to go off, kind of makes you have a different perspective.

But hey ho, it was the Uk's superior firepower that won that battle...Oh hold on, no it was a bunch of tree hugging civillians, who deicided enough was enough and sat down and talked it through

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Anonymous Coward

Matt Bryant

"I just don't see the three-shot as a seller as the old M203 is cheaper and lighter, and simpler revolver solutions ...are already on the market. The revolver launchers have big advantages in that they can use any of the current 40mm ammo, they have a larger capacity, and they can change loads mid-patrol if required (how do I unload my thermobaric Metal Storm three-shot so I can have a volley of thermo then HE then frag?)"

Having looked at the video clips you *can* change your loadout, at least a bit. The third round can be changed easily, but I'm not so sure about the other two, they look pretty much ramrodded up the chamber.

As to interchangeability of ammo, it depends what the standard is... if there's a transition to Metalstorm-type rounds for all GLs it'll mean grunts will be able to scavenge from area-denial and other systems as well as from each other. Such a changeover would make the rotating drum magazines potentially more powerful too, with multiple rounds per chamber.

While it's usual for the Grenadier to carry a rifle as well, how many 203s are there per squad, currently; this tech would multiply that by 3 and *might* conceivably provide enough rounds-loaded to mean the squad doesn't need the dedicated 'splody-bullet equipment (though they'll still want it, just for extra).

'Course that's a lot of "but"s :)

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@Stu

"But hey ho, it was the Uk's superior firepower that won that battle...Oh hold on, no it was a bunch of tree hugging civillians, who deicided enough was enough and sat down and talked it through"

Well, no. The IRA was thoroughly infiltrated and it became apparent that attempts at aggression were being effectively countered by not so gentle men with nasty weapons, not to mention the quiet assassinations etc.

Effective talks were not possible until the aggressive ability of one side was neutralised by the other - by less than gentle means.

"To call people who oppose war tree huggers, is a very sad reflection on society."

Actually it's a reflection of the often human-hating, often unrealistic, and frequently violent behaviour of the 'tree huggers' themselves. They managed to turn their own 'movement' into an insult.

"It's not the weapons that kill, it's the assholes that start the wars."

Agreed. And until the world is free of assholes we had better keep working on our ability to defend ourselves.

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Happy

RE: ImaGnuber

"....And until the world is free of assholes....." You may want to back up on that statement or we're all going to get backed up! America, f*ck yeah!

Now, to really upset dodge, shall we have a little discussion on the effectiveness of cluster bombs versus good old snake 'n' nape on "militants" using civilian buildings as cover?

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Black Helicopters

@Matt

Dodge might be feeling like he's been cluster-bombed but he did provoke some interesting comments.

The black helicopter because, well, I like helicopters.

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