Metal Storm Limited was founded by Australian James Michael O'Dwyer in 1993, based in Brisbane, Australia.
James Mike O'Dwyer was an Australian inventor. In 1991, O'Dwyer sold his previous food business to develop a running shoe concept cooled by flowing air generated from ground impacts. In 1993, O'Dwyer conceived the Metal Storm concept. O'Dwyer sought investors from Australian and American sources, struggling to find an investor until Australia's Defense Science and Technical Office (DSTO) decided to collaborate with O'Dwyer and directly invest in his developments.
Metal Storm researched and developed the Metal Storm electric ignition and superposed load technology. In 1996, Lockheed Martin reviewed and validated the Metal Storm technology. Metal Storm received steady government research funds from United States and Australian governments following the report.
Over the following years, Metal Storm developed and tested many experimental weapons using the Metal Storm technology. However, Metal Storm slowly sunk into economic trouble; they received no major purchasing order for their products, and their researching funding slowly dwindled.
Lacking buyers and research funds, Metal Storm requested to be suspended from trading on 20 July 2012, and was placed into voluntary administration. In August 12th 2015, DefendTex, an Australian-based Defence R&D company acquired all IPs, trademarks, technologies and assets of Metal Storm in late 2015.
Metal Storm weapons utilize the company's proprietary superposed load technology invented by O'Dwyer, known as "stacked projectile technology" (or "stacked round technology"). In a Metal Storm weapon, multiple loads with propellant charges are superposed in a single barrel, and are individually electrically triggered.
The ignition system for Metal Storm's early stacked projectile system is achieved via a series of piping holes drilled along the barrel. Electric wires run along the barrel, activating spark plugs and igniting the rounds in order. Later models have built-in wires running directly into the propellant charges. This method is only suitable when a barrel is pre-loaded with projectiles.
Metal Storm's second design to the stacked projectile system is induction coils placed around the barrel. Each induction coil would line up with one projectile in the stacked barrel, and each projectile would have its own coil. When firing, an AC current is sent to an induction coil, producing magnetic flex and inducing current in the cartridge, igniting the propellant in the cartridge. This design no longer requires holes to be drilled in the barrel and allows for individual rounds to be reloaded.
Chain Reaction Prevention
Superposed loads inherently pose the danger of a chain reaction, where the ignition of one projectile causes the unintended ignition of projectiles behind it. Metal Storm proposed two solutions to address the issue.
The first solution is deforming projectiles, in a process similar to the Minié ball. When a propellant is fired, the bullet behind it deformed and expanded, sealing the barrel. The second solution is bullet "skirts", which are similar to the design of the Russian 40×53mm VOG-25 grenades.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The electronically fired design of Metal Storm allows for tremendously high fire rates due to a lack of moving parts, as well as giving them high mechanical reliability, light weight, and a compact size and shape. The use of electronic ignition can be also extended into smart, computerized gun designs.
However, Metal Storm weapons also cause other disadvantages, such as capacities limited by barrel length, variable accuracy due to changing barrel length, low-velocity projectiles, and difficult reloads.
- Metal Storm Redback Weapon System
- Metal Storm FireStorm
The Metal Storm technology demonstrator is a 36-barrel rig nicknamed "Bertha" with 5 rounds in each barrel. All 180 rounds were fired in less than 0.01 seconds, with a total fire rate of one million rounds per minute (~27,777 RPM per barrel), making it the fastest-firing gun in existence.
- Mr. Metal Storm
- Official Homepage
- Metal Storm technology demonstrator
- Metal Storm mortar
- Metal Storm on Future Weapons
- Metal Storm video
- Metal Storm civilian applications
- Metal Storm ADWS
- Metal Storm U.S. patent on grenade induction coil barrel and induction coil grenade ammunition
- Metal Storm Canadian patent on grenade launcher induction coil barrel and induction coil grenade ammunition
- PDF of Metal Storm's U.S. patent for stacked ammunition
- Another PDF of Metal Storm's U.S. patent for stacked ammunition
- PDF of Metal Storm's international patent for stacked ammunition