Metal Storm Wins Phase II SBIR Awards from Pentagon
If you know a serious weapons geek, odds are you’ve heard the name “Metal Storm.” This Australian/US firm’s fully loaded barrel tubes are essentially serviceable weapons, without the traditional ammunition feed or ejection system, breech opening or any other moving parts. The technology uses the concept of numerous projectiles stacked in a barrel, in which each projectile has its own propellant load. The leading propellant can be electronically ignited to fire the projectile, without the resulting high pressure and temperature causing unplanned blow-by ignition of the following propellant load, and without collapse of the projectile column in the barrel. Metal Storm barrels can be effectively grouped in multiple configurations to meet a diversity of applications, are extremely reliable due to their lack of moving parts, and are capable of local or remote operation through a computerized fire control system.
Now the firm has been awarded a two year Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract worth approximately A$ 975,000 from the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) for the design, prototyping and demonstration of Metal Storm less-than-lethal munitions.
Under the less-than-lethal munitions contract, Metal Storm will design and build prototype less-than-lethal munitions for demonstration to ARDEC of a range of crowd-control options. These munitions will be compatible with the Metal Storm 40mm launcher technology. Incorporated into the munitions will be “smart-round” capabilities, providing an improved level of safety and flexibility in the less-than-lethal spectrum of operations. The project effort, entitled “Metal Storm Crowd Control System,” will extend over a 2-year period.
Metal Storm’s Chief Executive Officer, David Smith, said:
“As advised to the market in September 2005, Metal Storm is also currently working under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with ARDEC in relation to the development of High Explosive munitions. This critical business relationship will become even more advantageous as we add the less-lethal line of munitions to the already established framework for the rapid development, testing, and eventual certification of a range of 40mm munitions for use in Metal Storm weapons systems” See corporate release.
As announced on December 2, 2005, Metal Storm was also recently awarded another Phase II SBIR contract with the US Department of Defense worth approximately A$ 1.32 million for the development and testing of a remotely operated weapon system. The objective of that contract is to validate the application of the unique Metal Storm weapon system with various unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). Defense Review has details regarding the Metal Storm/ Talon UGV tests. DID, meanwhile, has covered the mechanics and process of SBIR contracts.
Additional Readings & Sources
- Metal Storm company web site
- UPI (Jan 20/06) – New super-gun to be tested in Feb. Includes useful information re: events, tests, and programs in the near future.
- Defense Review (Aug 31/05) – Metal Storm Demos Advanced Individual Combat Weapon (AICW) Prototype
- Defense Review (April 4/05) – Metal Storm Limited CEO’s Update: Metal Storm’s Past, Present, and Future
- Defense Review (March 31/05) – Metal Storm 40mm Weapon System/Talon Robot Live-Fire Demo for U.S. Military
- Popular Mechanics (Sept 11/01) – Ultimate Firepower. As usual for them, some very useful and informative illustrations.