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Metal Storm’s virtual minefield gets a patent

By

January 26, 2010

As each barrel can contain a variety of projectiles, it can fire a sensor from each of the...

As each barrel can contain a variety of projectiles, it can fire a sensor from each of the barrels to cover an area with sensors. If any sensor is triggered, the barrel to which it belongs fires a subsequent explosive projectile to the exact same point.

Metal Storm has been granted another round of patents and one in particular has important implications for the future of minefields. The company’s weapon technology functions somewhat like an inkjet printer, using computer-controlled electronic ignition and a system of stacked projectiles in multiple barrels. As each barrel can contain a variety of projectiles, it can fire a sensor from each of the barrels to cover an area with sensors. If any sensor is triggered, the barrel to which it belongs fires a subsequent explosive projectile to the exact same point. The system offers many advantages, including the ability to be switched off leaving no explosive ordnance remaining in the area that had been protected. With landmines being one of the most dreadful and enduring legacies of war, it’s an enormous shame that only one side will be using Metal Storm, as it represents a potential solution to the deployment of this insidious device.

We’ve written many stories about Metal Storm’s non-mechanical weapon technology, its awesome firepower, light weight and inability to jam being just a few of its many advantages.

Metal Storm’s inkjet-like technology can do things your average gun can’t do, like fire a million rounds a minute, or fire different projectiles from the same barrel to different distances.

Newly awarded US Patent No. 7637195 protects Metals Storm’s technology which create a virtual minefield. In particular, it protects the system of deploying multi-barrel weapon systems for set defence where each barrel contains a sensor projectile followed by a series of other projectiles. On deployment, the sensors can blanket a “protected area” and if any sensor is triggered, the barrel to which it belongs fires a subsequent projectile to the exact same point to provide an “effect” at that position.

Just to translate the military terminology, an “effect” can range from lethal through less-lethal, depending on the nature of the expected threat. The system has several key benefits in that it can be deployed over large areas in seconds and provide unmanned defence for extended periods.

Unlike conventional minefields it is “self healing”, in that if an incursion triggers a firing, there would still be more projectiles in each barrel to maintain the protection at that point. Uniquely, the protection can be switched off instantly, either over the entire area or for a path through the area, then switched back on again, and most appealing of all, it does not sew a permanent, death-dealing minefield indiscriminate of civilian populations and soldiers: the system can be instantly removed with no mines or other explosive ordnance remaining in the area that had been protected.

5 Comments

One problem I see is that opposing forces can send a hypothetical small robot into the area that triggers the sensor and gets blown up. However, timing and trajectory information could have been wirelessly transmitted back to a main control unit before its destruction. This information would then be used to determine the gun emplacement's posiiton and launch a shell to destroy the Metal Storm unit, thus neutralizing the whole minefield. At least in theory. :-) It would still be useful for antipersonell use and of course, the first time anything stumbles into the virtual minefield. And I'm still adding one to my Amazon Wish List.

alcalde
2nd February, 2010 @ 01:36 pm PST

Good point alcalde . . . the counter measure would be of course putting an inertial guidance system on a un-manned vehicle to carry the "Virtual Minefield" to a different spot, ha ha.

TDurden1937
17th April, 2010 @ 12:13 pm PDT

Ummmmmmmmmm FAKT CHEQUE

"Metal Storm's inkjet-like technology can do things your average gun can't do, like fire a million rounds a minute,"

Noooooooooooooooooo it fires at the RATE of up to a million rounds a minute.

Meaning it might fire a heap of barrels and loads in the barrels - off at a very high "machine gun" rate - for 0.1 of a second, which if left to run for 600 times longer, would amount to 1,000,000 rounds per minute.

But it does not have a million rounds in it, and it cannot fire them over an entire minute.

Mr Stiffy
8th July, 2010 @ 09:04 pm PDT

Although IMO the ideal would be a “mortar” system that could provide Final Protective Fires as well as massed fires (given that targets move quickly after first round).

The Claymore, for example, is effective but vulnerable to enemy sneaking in and can only be fired once. Soldiers have to go forward to emplace.

For example, in the Wanat battle, 200 enemy attacked a hasty position defended by 50. A smallish ganged projectile system could be emplaced quickly and controlled with a joystick. Could fire flares, explosive ordnance, WP, etc.

Larger systems could have fuel-air projectiles. Maybe a towed 120, etc.

cwolf88
15th May, 2014 @ 09:06 am PDT

Man is endlessly inventive when it comes to devising ways to kill. Why not have a machine gun which detects movement, and fires at the target? Or just scan an area with powerful infra-red lasers, and roast the enemy invisibly. How ingenious!

windykites1
6th August, 2014 @ 10:26 am PDT
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