July 22, 2008 Better known for its highly lethal Stacked Projectile Electronic Ballistics Technology which enables one gun to fire a million rounds a minute, Metal Storm has received a contract from the United States Marine Corps Systems Command to demonstrate capabilities for a Mission Payload Module – Non-Lethal Weapons System (MPM-NLWS) designed to provide the warfighter a non-lethal counter-personnel capability.
The system will support missions requiring crowd control, and will deny, defend and control area access while allowing the warfighter to engage threats at standoff ranges and protect non-combatants.
Metal Storm’s ballistics system is quite unique in the armaments field, as the “rounds” are stacked in the multiple barrels one on top of the next. As rounds are individually addressed and initiated (fired) electronically , the weapon has no moving parts, meaning it can never jam and that its rate of fire is not limited by mechanical parts, allowing reliable long term unattended weapon operation.
This “stacked projectile” technology is quite similar in operation to the way an ink-jet printer works, using multiple barrels mounted together on one platform. As the barrels can be of various sizes, this allows varying munitions types to be deployed in a single, low cost, lightweight weapon system.
Metal Storm is working with a range of U.S. and Australian government agencies and departments, as well as industry, to develop a variety of systems utilising the Metal Storm non-mechanical, electronically fired stacked ammunition system.
Metal Storm’s weapon technology uses computer-controlled electronic ignition and a system of stacked projectiles, to achieve a completely non-mechanical gun that is very lightweight and compact, providing a very high firepower to weight ratio.
The initial contract for the MPM-NLWS is valued at US$103,751 and under the terms of the contract, Metal Storm will prepare and deliver a demonstration model for a Government-controlled Market Research Demonstration (MRD).
The MRD is intended to aid the Government in identifying current technologies that have been developed by industry. Following the MRD, the Government plans to initiate a new full-and-open contracting effort for a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Phase contract. Following these phases, the government anticipates releasing proposals for production contracts.
Metal Storm’s General Manager Peter D. Faulkner said “Metal Storm is pleased to be participating in the MPM program and are looking forward to the Market Research Demonstration. We believe the benefits of our technology when combined with that of our teaming partner Defense Technology, part of the BAE Systems Products Group, will provide significant improvements in range, area coverage and in particular, volume of fire over existing non-lethal weapon systems.”
The MPM-NLWS will be mounted onto the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
Follow-on spirals will ultimately be integrated on other tactical vehicle platforms, unmanned ground vehicles, and Navy surface water vessels through an evolutionary acquisition process. Effects such as obscuration and illumination will be added to address future and emerging capability gaps. The weapons platform will be capable of providing greater range, area coverage, precision, and scalability than current NLW systems.