Skip to comments.Centrifugal weapon could deliver stealth firepower
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.
No bang, just whoosh!...........
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.
Well, the ammunition is cheap. ;)
That's pretty effing cool.
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....
It's all ball bearings these days. Ping
I'm always intrigued by new defence projects, this would be nice for our boys to use in the WOT.
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.
Do the ball bearings vomit when released?
Eaker has a new project.
Someone be sure to get pictures...
Hillary and the leftists are not going to like this.
Nothing in the centrifugal concept would allow them to violate f=ma.
Does this mean that in California, all ball bearings will require a serial number?
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.
If you go to military.com for 5/10/05 you can see a picture of the weapon and a good article.
geez, that's into a range around 15 kHz! Not so much a whoosh as a ring!
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.
Better watch out, you could probably put your eye out with one of these.
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!
"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.
I'm gonna' need some pliers, and a set of 30 weight ball bearings. ping
Will it fit in a purse?
Is it hard to start on cold mornings?
actually, I think you hit the nail on the head with that...
What do they call a malfunction? Dreadlocks?
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.
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.
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..
I need one.
120,000 rounds per minute! Yikes!
I'm not a physics whiz, but it seems all you'd need is something to absorb the counter-rotational reaction. A flywheel maybe?
bump for later
Not my fault, but if I could have one...
I know a few woodchucks I'd love to centrifuge..
He has to finish the bowling ball cannon first!
If this is a centripetal weapon, doesnt 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?
you forgot to mention duct tape.. must always have duct tape.
When ball bearings are outlawed, only outlaws will have ball bearings.
or balistic missiles
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? :-)
> 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.
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.
I sent them an email requesting a unit for beta-testing!