Metal Storm

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Metal Storm Limited
Type Public
Traded as ASXMST
Industry Defense
Fate voluntary administration
Founded 1994
Headquarters Brisbane, Australia
Key people Terence James O'Dwyer, Chairman[1]
Website http://www.metalstorm.com/

Metal Storm Limited is a research and development company based in Brisbane, Australia that specialized in electronically initiated superposed load weapons technology and owns the proprietary rights to the electronic ballistics technology invented by J. Mike O'Dwyer.[2] Metal Storm represents both the name of the company and the technology. The company maintains a subsidiary in Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A..

Technology[edit]

Metal Storm uses the concept of superposed load; multiple projectiles loaded nose to tail in a single gun barrel with propellant packed between them. The Roman candle, a traditional firework design, employs the same basic concept, however, the propellant continues to burn in the Roman candle's barrel, igniting the charge behind the subsequent projectile. The process is repeated by each charge in turn, ensuring that all projectiles in the barrel are discharged sequentially from the single ignition. Various methods of separately firing each propellant package behind stacked projectiles have been proposed which would allow a "single shot" capability more suitable to firearms.[3]

J. Mike O'Dwyer, an Australian inventor, observed that these methods did not eliminate the problem of unintended propellant ignition caused by hot gases "leaking" back up the barrel. J. Mike O'Dwyer's original Metal Storm patents demonstrated a method whereby projectiles placed in series along the length of a barrel could be fired sequentially and selectively without the danger associated with unintended propellant ignition.

In the original Metal Storm patents, the propellant immediately behind the projectile closest to the muzzle of the gun barrel was ignited by an electronically fired primer, the projectile was set in motion, and at the same time a reactive force acted on the remaining stacked projectiles in the barrel, pushing them backwards. By design, the remaining projectiles would distort under this load, expanding radially against the gun barrel wall. This created a seal, which prevented the hot propellant gases (expanding behind the lead projectile) prematurely igniting the remaining propellant charges in the barrel (blow-back). As each of these propellant charges was selectively (electronically) ignited, the force "unlocked" the projectile in front and propelled it down the gun barrel, and reinforced the radial expansion (and hence the seal) between the projectiles remaining in the barrel and the barrel wall.[4]

Subsequent designs discarded the "distorting shell sealing against the barrel" concept in favor of containing the propellant in "skirts" that form the rear part of each projectile. These skirted projectiles differ from conventional shells and cartridge units in that the skirts are part of the projectile, and in that the skirts are open-ended (at the rear). The rearward seal to the skirt is provided by the nose of the following projectile in the barrel. As in the previous design, the firing of a projectile results in a rearward impulse on the remaining projectiles stacked in the barrel. This results in the skirts of the remaining shells in the barrel being compressed against the following shell heads, effectively creating a seal that prevents hot gases in the barrel triggering unintended propellant ignition ("blow-back") along the length of the barrel. Metal Storm also introduced inductive electronic ignition of the propellant, effectively from outside the barrel.[citation needed]

Products[edit]

A minigun with a belt of separate firing chambers also exists.[5]

The Multi-shot Accessory Under-barrel Launcher (MAUL) is an electronically fired, 12-gauge shotgun for use as an accessory weapon to a range of weapons, such as the M4 or M16 rifle, or as a stand-alone 5 shot weapon, providing a range of lethal (buckshot and slug) and non-lethal (blunt impact, door breaching, and frangible) munitions, all preloaded in 5 round "stacked projectiles" munition tubes. Metal Storm reported[6] the first shoulder-firing of the MAUL during tests on 24 April 2009 at its test facilities in Chantilly, Virginia.

Metal Storm has created a 36-barreled stacked projectile machine gun, boasting the highest rate of fire in the world. The prototype weapon demonstrated a firing rate of just over 1 million rounds per minute for a 180-round burst, with a claimed maximum rate of fire of 1.62 million RPM (i.e., 45,000 RPM for each barrel).[7]

The 3GL is a semi-automatic grenade launcher with 3 grenades per magazine. Users can fire 3 grenades without reloading. It can be attached to weapons via RIS rails.

History[edit]

In 2000, Chinese agents approached Michael O'Dwyer and offered him US$100M to go to China to develop the technology.[8][9] O'Dwyer refused and informed the Australian government of the approach. Since then, the Chinese have developed technology[which?] and calls their military development program, 'Metal Storm'.[10][11][source needs translation]

As of 3 August 2010, Metal Storm has signed a contract with a value of US$3,365,000 with Papua New Guinea's Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo to supply 500 MAULs and 50,000 rounds of non-lethal ammunition for use by correctional services officers.[12]

Metal Storm requested their shares be suspended from trading on 20 July 2012.[13] As of 26 July 2012, the company has been placed in voluntary administration.[13]

Personnel[edit]

The company's directors are:

  • Terence James O'Dwyer, Director since 30 March 1998, Chairman since September 2005
  • Lee John Finniear, PhD: Managing Director since 24 May 2007 & CEO since 19 February 2007
  • John R. Nicholls, Director since 1 September 2006
  • Trevor William Tappenden, Director since 1 July 2008
  • William Henkel, Director since 2 November 2010

In a Form 20-F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dated 30 June 2008, Metal Storm reported that it employed 30 staff as of 31 December 2007.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Metal Storm Limited — Resolutions Passed at Annual General Meeting". Business Wire. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Metal Storm Weapons". Popular Mechanics (Hearst Corporation). 7 December 2004. Retrieved 22 January 2012. "Through his company, Metal Storm Ltd., the Australian inventor hopes to apply this technology to a variety of military and commercial products worldwide." 
  3. ^ for example Scott in 1902 and Broyles in 1974
  4. ^ [Dan] Check |authorlink= value (help) (April 1999). "Taking Ballistics by Storm: An electronic gun with no mechanical parts fires a million rounds per minute". Scientific American. Nature America, Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20050262996.pdf
  6. ^ Metal Storm Completes First Shoulder Firing of MAUL Shotgun, IBT, 30 April 2009, accessed 10 May 2009
  7. ^ Gourley, Scott (September 2001). "Metal Storm Weapons". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications. 
  8. ^ O'Dwyer offered 100M to go to China
  9. ^ China's desire for inventor's gun just tip of iceberg
  10. ^ China's CIWS Research for ship defence
  11. ^ Hyper-velocity ballistic missile defence
  12. ^ "Metal Storm win multi-million contract". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney: Fairfax Media). 3 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Staff (26 July 2012). "Metal Storm up for sale". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 

External links[edit]