Metal Storm a Deadly Weapon System

“Metal Storm” – the very name provokes a mental image of metal raining from the skies.

Which, really, wasn’t far off the mark.

Metal Storm – developed by Metal Storm Ltd. (based in Brisbane, Australia) - had the ability to fire off a staggering amount of ammunition.  The prototype projectile machine gun system (one of several systems developed) was rated at 16,000 rounds of ammunition each second.

How could it do such a thing?

  Well, it used the concept of a “superposed load” (also known as a “stacked charge”), which is multiple projectiles loaded nose to tail in a single gun barrel with propellant packed between them.  This was not a new concept – the idea dates back to the old matchlock and caplock firearms (actually further back than that, as the Roman Candle uses the same concept of multiple charges).  The desired aim was to have the ability to fire multiple shots from a single barrel without reloading.  The “traditional” problem to the concept, however, is the issue of sequential charges firing together, instead of one after the other - which would often result in a burst barrel as well as injuries to the weapon wielder.

So, how did the Metal Storm system avoid the traditional problem?  With a combination of projectile design and an electronic firing system – the barrel and magazine were combined as a single unit, eliminating the need for a traditional firing mechanism.

 And so, the system uses an electronic firing system - electronic impulses are sent directly to the bullets when the weapon’s trigger is pulled, which ignites them at an incredibly fast rate of 16,000 rounds a second.  Out of one barrel, that is astonishing enough – but the Metal Storm system combines multiple barrels (pictured above), and can fire bullets from several barrels at once.

 

Gun buffs may wonder about the issue of propellant gases – as I understand it, the projectiles were also redesigned to include some sort of “skirt” to prevent the hot gases from igniting the round(s) behind it in the barrel.

So, what kind of weapons are we looking at?

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