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Sorcerers of Death’s Construction

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  1. Kullervo said,

    January 6, 2009 @ 6:56 am

    Love the Black Sabbath reference!

    So, the metal storm guns are pretty sweet, I must admit. But in terms of practical applicability on the battlefield, I think they would be hilariously impractical.

    The Metal Storm machinegun can shoot like a bajillion rounds a second, sure, and the destructive force of all of that ammo is pretty intense. However, all of that ammo has weight and volume, and someone has to carry it. And it would all be used up in one shot–one incredibly fast shot. Too fast to effectively engage an area target, too fast to walk in a burst, and much too fast to lay down any kind of meaningful suppressive fire. In short, it would fail as a man-carried machinegun.

    Why not mount it on a vehicle then? The ammo problem is alleviated a bit, but not entirely. That thing is still going to chew through bullets amazingly fast. It’s still only going to be effective at point targets. And in the end, it still just shoots bullets, and bullets just aren’t as effective against light and armored vehicles as, say, a TOW missile system (which doesn;t have to carry a bajillion bullets somewhere in the vehicle).

    In short, the Metal Storm would be too cumbersome–and probably not effective enough–to be used by infantry, and it would be less effective and actually less destructive than most of the vehicle-mounted alternatives.

    The Metal Storm Mortar wasn’t nearly as impressive. It can lob mortar shells super-fast, sure, but each tube can only shoot four at a time. So it can’t lob a bajillion mortars the way the Metal Storm can hail out bullets–it has to be reloaded.

    And here’s the thing: the whole advantage of a mortar tube is that it is artillery that can be carried by infantry soldiers. This thing can’t–it’s too big. The tube and base plate of a mortar are already amazingly heavy. And forget the ammo that you’d need to carry to make it better than a regular mortar tube. This Metal Storm Mortar has to be stationary or vehicle-mounted.

    And there you have the same problem as with the Metal Storm above: there are much better and much more destructive artillery and vehicle-mounted pieces already. Four grenades real fast doesn’t hold a candle to, say, an 110mm cannon. And we already have the Mk 19, which is a belt-fed grenade launcher machinegun. It doesn’t shoot as fast as the MSM, no. And it doesn;t actually shoot mortar rounds (although it didn’t look like the MSM did either), but it shoots plenty fast, it’s plenty destructive, and it’s belt fed. That means it doesn’t have to have nine tubes reloaded every time you fire, and it also means you can walk in your fire. Anything that needed four grenades at once to destroy would be better destroyed by a bigger gun.

    The Multiple Kill Vehicle is a cool idea. Really futuristic–a battlefield hover drone. But all I’m seeing is a tube that they can make hover really loudly for a few seconds, and some bad computer animation.

  2. Jonathan Blake said,

    January 6, 2009 @ 10:57 am

    You have a point, of course, and are more acquainted with warfare tactics and weapons. I imagine that Metal Storm may have a role in anti-aircraft/anti-missile weapons that could benefit from putting a lot of material in the air.

    I think the MKV is intended as an anti-satellite weapon where it could maintain proper attitude for much longer than a few seconds. Anyway, as a computer engineer, I’m apprehensive about our trust in robotic weapons. On the other hand, letting drones fight our wars for us is an attractive idea (until they inevitably rise up against us, of course).

  3. Kullervo said,

    January 6, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    I imagine that Metal Storm may have a role in anti-aircraft/anti-missile weapons that could benefit from putting a lot of material in the air.

    Possibly. But it still seems to me like there’s actually a point of diminishing returns with speed of bullets. Yeah, the MEtal Storm or something like it could put up alot of flak, but we have guided missile systems. Flak’s kind of a waste of material, actually.

  4. Jonathan Blake said,

    January 6, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

    I always thought there were problems with the accuracy of the guided missile systems in these applications. As in it was hard to get one missile to intercept another. When I mentioned anti-missile applications, I had the Goalkeeper CIWS in mind.

  5. Kullervo said,

    January 8, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

    Well, to be honest, if I’m talking about antiaircraft, I’m out of my element anyway. I could be making shit up. I’m an infantry soldier, after all.

    But it still seems to me that you’d get a hell of a lot better coverage with 50 guns that could shoot once per second than you would with one gun that could shoot 50 times per second.

  6. Jonathan Blake said,

    January 8, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    Well, I’m not an expert at all, so I’m just impressed with the tech even if it’s not militarily sound.

    BTW, speaking of infantry, I also considered the AA-12 for this post.

  7. Kullervo said,

    January 9, 2009 @ 7:24 am

    A fully automatic shotgun? Sweet.

    Agreed, though, re: impressive tech.

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