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Centrifugal weapon could deliver stealth firepower
New Scientist ^ | 5/11/05 | Will Knight

Posted on 05/11/2005 1:07:57 PM PDT by LibWhacker

A gun that spits out ball bearings after spinning them to extreme speeds is being developed by a US inventor. The novel design has already caught the imagination of some defence industry experts.

The weapon, called DREAD, was invented by Charles St George, a veteran of the US firearms industry who founded the company Leader Propulsion Systems to promote the idea. He claims a major US defence company has shown an interested in developing it further and has produced a promotional video showing a prototype in action, which can be seen here (Quicktime). He says a new prototype will be developed in August 2005.

The gun consists of a mounted circular chamber that spins the metal ball bearings to high speed. A release mechanism on one side spits the balls out one behind the other, a handful at a time.

St George says the projectiles travel at around 300 metres per second upon release from the weapon, about the same speed as a handgun round. He claims a fully developed DREAD gun would be quieter than a conventional gun, less prone to malfunction, and could contain more ammunition.

DREAD also releases its balls in extremely rapid succession, which allows it to unleash formidable firepower against a target. Promotional material for DREAD states: "Due to its extraordinary high rate of fire capability, it delivers its bullets 8.5 millimetres apart, thereby delivering more mass to the target than any other weapon."

Overwhelming and devastating

St George would not specify the range or accuracy of the most recent prototype or explain precisely how the system works, because he says this information could be commercially sensitive.

But a patent issued to him in February 2003 has been found by Marc Abrahams, editor of science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research. It refers to a "Weapon for Centrifugal Propulsion of Projectiles". In this design, balls are stored inside a series of narrow chambers that radiate from the centre of a circular chamber and which are rotated with the chamber at high speed.

A mechanism beneath each narrow chamber automatically manoeuvres a single ball into a smaller compartment at near its edge. When the trigger is pulled, these balls are released into a guide rail and shoot from the disc rapidly, from a hole at its edge.

"The system seams absolutely feasible," says David Crane, editor of the website DefenseReview.com. The weapon could strike targets with “overwhelming and devastating firepower - we're talking about total target saturation."

Terry Gander, who edits the defence industry journal Jane's Infantry Weapons, adds that similar concepts have been developed in the past. But Gander notes that these have had low projectile velocity and have been proposed as crowd control weapons. "It all depends on the sort of power source you have," he told New Scientist. "I'd be very interested to know what its range is."

But Abrahams finds the idea outlandish. "Anything that seems so far beyond anything else is worth a moment's thought before you completely gulp it down," he told New Scientist. "It is way out on the side of the scale that deals with high levels of imagination.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: ball; balls; bang; banglist; bearings; brassballs; centrifugal; firepower; massdriver; miltech; spaceballs; spinning; stealth; weapon
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1 posted on 05/11/2005 1:07:59 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

bang!


2 posted on 05/11/2005 1:09:38 PM PDT by Rakkasan1 (The MRS wanted to go to an expensive place to eat so I took her to the gas station.)
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To: Rakkasan1

No bang, just whoosh!...........


3 posted on 05/11/2005 1:12:30 PM PDT by Red Badger (I woke up this morning and discovered my Memory Foam mattress had Alzheimer's......)
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To: LibWhacker

A former co-worker of mine who is a brilliant engineer described a similar idea to me a number of times. I guess he should have gone for a patent.


4 posted on 05/11/2005 1:12:41 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: LibWhacker

Well, the ammunition is cheap. ;)


5 posted on 05/11/2005 1:13:06 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Violence never settles anything." Genghis Khan, 1162-1227)
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To: LibWhacker

That's pretty effing cool.


6 posted on 05/11/2005 1:14:23 PM PDT by nuffsenuff
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To: LibWhacker
"Anything that seems so far beyond anything else is worth a moment's thought before you completely gulp it down," he told New Scientist. "It is way out on the side of the scale that deals with high levels of imagination.

The history of the 20th Century is the history of the implausible made real. The history of the 21st Century will be the history of the impossible made real....

7 posted on 05/11/2005 1:15:17 PM PDT by freebilly (Go Santa Cruz Baseball!)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Darth Reagan

It's all ball bearings these days. Ping


9 posted on 05/11/2005 1:16:04 PM PDT by marblehead17 (I love it when a plan comes together.)
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To: LibWhacker

I'm always intrigued by new defence projects, this would be nice for our boys to use in the WOT.


10 posted on 05/11/2005 1:16:06 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: LibWhacker
This idea was described in Popular Science about 42 years ago. They even had plans for a prototype you could build.

I remember because my father got me a stack of Pop. Science from a friend of his at work, when I was in about third grade. This particular project stands out in my memory.

(steely)

11 posted on 05/11/2005 1:16:06 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: LibWhacker

Do the ball bearings vomit when released?


12 posted on 05/11/2005 1:17:50 PM PDT by Imaverygooddriver (ALL YOU BASE ARE BELONG TO US)
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To: Eaker; humblegunner; Flyer

Eaker has a new project.

Someone be sure to get pictures...


13 posted on 05/11/2005 1:19:12 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: LibWhacker

Hillary and the leftists are not going to like this.


14 posted on 05/11/2005 1:19:42 PM PDT by garyhope
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To: LibWhacker
The video at the site says there's no recoil. That must mean that mass leaves in at least two directions. If the recoil is very small then there is very little mass projected, the exit velocity is small, the weapon mass is great, or some combination of the above.

Nothing in the centrifugal concept would allow them to violate f=ma.

15 posted on 05/11/2005 1:19:46 PM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: LibWhacker
I followed the link to the original source, but couldn't play the video.

;-(

Does this mean that in California, all ball bearings will require a serial number?

16 posted on 05/11/2005 1:20:06 PM PDT by white trash redneck (Everything I needed to know about Islam I learned on 9-11-01.)
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To: LibWhacker

Sounds like one of those machines that "pitches" baseballs in a batting cage with two spinning discs slinging the ball towards the batter. Just scaled down for ball bearings, and then industrialized for the military.


17 posted on 05/11/2005 1:20:20 PM PDT by willgolfforfood
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To: LibWhacker

If you go to military.com for 5/10/05 you can see a picture of the weapon and a good article.


18 posted on 05/11/2005 1:20:32 PM PDT by nidan
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To: LibWhacker

geez, that's into a range around 15 kHz! Not so much a whoosh as a ring!


19 posted on 05/11/2005 1:20:35 PM PDT by SlowBoat407 (Don't bother giving me liberty - I'll take it for myself.)
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To: Imaverygooddriver

Shooting a round ball, I would think it would not be overly accurrate or have much of a range in the atmospher.

Think round shot vs. rifle shot.

Be handy spaceship-to-spaceship weapon, though --- handy to destroy satelites.


20 posted on 05/11/2005 1:21:10 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan
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To: LibWhacker

Better watch out, you could probably put your eye out with one of these.


21 posted on 05/11/2005 1:21:15 PM PDT by garyhope
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To: LibWhacker

Yes, please... I would like one. I'm going to ask my husband to get me this for my birthday - I'd bet I'd be the only mom on my block to have a DREAD!


22 posted on 05/11/2005 1:21:52 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: Imaverygooddriver

LOL!


23 posted on 05/11/2005 1:22:36 PM PDT by PreviouslyA-Lurker (...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
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To: avg_freeper

"Nothing in the centrifugal concept would allow them to violate f=ma."

I would think the more accurrate discription would be the recoil would be more of a steady "push" vs. bang!(recoil); bang!(recoil).

Helps with post-first-shot aiming, I suppose, as you are really firing a stream of rounds.


24 posted on 05/11/2005 1:23:18 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan
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To: LibWhacker

I'm gonna' need some pliers, and a set of 30 weight ball bearings. ping


25 posted on 05/11/2005 1:23:39 PM PDT by Buford T. Justice
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To: LibWhacker; Conspiracy Guy; NicknamedBob; Darksheare; Laura Earl; tuliptree76

Will it fit in a purse?

Is it hard to start on cold mornings?


26 posted on 05/11/2005 1:23:46 PM PDT by PreviouslyA-Lurker (...where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
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To: marblehead17

That's a terrific wing. I love the shape.

Yeah, Freddy...


27 posted on 05/11/2005 1:23:57 PM PDT by F15Eagle ((obscure 'Fletch' references!))
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To: MeanWestTexan

actually, I think you hit the nail on the head with that...


28 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:16 PM PDT by tarawa
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To: marblehead17

Gus Gustoffson?


29 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:34 PM PDT by pgyanke (The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.)
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To: LibWhacker

What do they call a malfunction? Dreadlocks?


30 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:47 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (You must respect my a-tor-it-tah!)
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To: wideminded
A former co-worker of mine who is a brilliant engineer described a similar idea to me a number of times. I guess he should have gone for a patent.

No problem with the physics. The details are where it works or fails. If someone described a gatlin gun as a new invention, I'd be skeptical.

31 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:52 PM PDT by js1138 (e unum pluribus)
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To: avg_freeper
Well, there is recoil, it's true, but it happens when the projectile is dropped into the center of the spinning mechanism and slides out along whatever guide or tube takes it to the outer radius. There would be no recoil at the moment of release.

The recoil would, I imagine, show up as vibration, as the rotor mechanism would intermittently be out of balance. Of course, this could be compensated by some sort of movable counterweight.

My point is, the recoil would not necessarily be in a direction opposite to that of the projectile. A fine point.

(steely)

32 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:53 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: LibWhacker

I'd like to go duck hunting with this.. They wouldn't be scared away by the sound, they would just see their buddies start to fall..


33 posted on 05/11/2005 1:24:54 PM PDT by mnehring (http://www.mlearningworld.com)
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To: LibWhacker

I need one.


34 posted on 05/11/2005 1:25:19 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Buford T. Justice

Prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and gauze pads.


35 posted on 05/11/2005 1:25:33 PM PDT by F15Eagle ((obscure 'Fletch' references!))
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To: LibWhacker

120,000 rounds per minute! Yikes!


36 posted on 05/11/2005 1:25:36 PM PDT by Lee Heggy (Sorry, I don't do Windows.)
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To: avg_freeper
The video at the site says there's no recoil. That must mean that mass leaves in at least two directions. If the recoil is very small then there is very little mass projected, the exit velocity is small, the weapon mass is great, or some combination of the above.

I'm not a physics whiz, but it seems all you'd need is something to absorb the counter-rotational reaction. A flywheel maybe?

37 posted on 05/11/2005 1:25:40 PM PDT by SlowBoat407 (Don't bother giving me liberty - I'll take it for myself.)
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To: Rakkasan1

bump for later


38 posted on 05/11/2005 1:26:51 PM PDT by P8riot (Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.)
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To: LibWhacker
"Total target saturation."

My super Soaker can do that too.

I'll have to check the movie out when i get home. i just can't envision this one.
39 posted on 05/11/2005 1:27:03 PM PDT by tfecw (Vote Democrat, It's easier than working)
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To: PreviouslyA-Lurker

Not my fault, but if I could have one...

I know a few woodchucks I'd love to centrifuge..


40 posted on 05/11/2005 1:28:57 PM PDT by Darksheare (There is a flaw in my surreality, it's totally unrealistic.)
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To: thackney; Eaker; humblegunner
Eaker has a new project.

He has to finish the bowling ball cannon first!

41 posted on 05/11/2005 1:29:22 PM PDT by Flyer (If I were 8 pixels tall I could fit in my tag line)
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To: avg_freeper

If this is a centripetal weapon, doesn’t this mean theoretically the opposing force of the exit volicty would be distributed along the entire centripetal loop (or path), thus giving a great force with little true recoil as it is spread evenly around the circle?


42 posted on 05/11/2005 1:29:27 PM PDT by mnehring (http://www.mlearningworld.com)
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To: Buford T. Justice

you forgot to mention duct tape.. must always have duct tape.


43 posted on 05/11/2005 1:31:01 PM PDT by mnehring (http://www.mlearningworld.com)
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To: LibWhacker
"It's all ball bearings these days"
44 posted on 05/11/2005 1:31:26 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead (To hell with Mexico, its policies, and its leaders)
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To: LibWhacker

When ball bearings are outlawed, only outlaws will have ball bearings.


45 posted on 05/11/2005 1:31:53 PM PDT by anonymous_user (Not everything's a conspiracy.)
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To: MeanWestTexan

or balistic missiles


46 posted on 05/11/2005 1:31:54 PM PDT by SShultz460
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To: PreviouslyA-Lurker
Will it fit in a purse?

I get a diameter of about four feet, if you want a "muzzle" velocity of 1,000 ft/sec, and want the wheel to spin at 5,000rpm. How big is your purse? :-)

47 posted on 05/11/2005 1:32:33 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: wideminded

> described a similar idea to me a number of times

The concept is quite old. Many people thought back in the 1910-1930 time frame that space launch would be by means of giant spinning wheels hurling rocketships into the sky at escape velocity.


48 posted on 05/11/2005 1:33:03 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: SlowBoat407

A "black box", no matter what its internal workings, will have recoil if it is projecting mass. There is no way around this.

I think they must have meant "no recoil" in a loose human-perceptive sort of way.


49 posted on 05/11/2005 1:35:05 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: thackney

I sent them an email requesting a unit for beta-testing!


50 posted on 05/11/2005 1:35:06 PM PDT by Eaker (..Let them throw cake!! . (TheMom)
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