WEAPONS developer Metal Storm Limited (MSI) will speed up development of its three flagship products with the opening of a new testing facility in the US.
CEO Lee Finnear says there were logistical difficulties in moving equipment to third party testing ranges, so the new facility in Virginia will allow them to save time and money to get their products on the market sooner.
“This allows us to do what we need, with everything in place all ready to go, and we’re near the largest military market in the world in Washington (DC),” says Finnear.
He expects the company’s 3GL grenade launcher to be demonstrating to the market in the second half of this year, with a lot of revenues set to come from munitions for the product, as the launcher will be reasonably priced.
“There’s absolutely huge demand. Last week we spoke to the US military at the Avalon Air Show and the response was phenomenal – they couldn’t believe we can make what we do,” he says.
The 3GL is a 40mm semi-automatic grenade launcher that can kill within a 5m radius of detonation, with a potential injury radius of 50m.
“The important thing for the troops in Afghanistan is those first seconds of engagement with the enemy when you can do a lot of damage physically as well as psychologically,” says Finnear.
“I don’t think warfare is good news for anybody but if our troops are out there we want them to be prepared, and if we can reduce casualties among Australian or US personnel then our work is done.”
The 3GL has been certified with non-explosive munitions, and now it needs further testing with explosive munitions before it qualifies to standards.
Another project in development is a 12 gauge shotgun called the Mole which could potentially lead to more effective methods of non-lethal crowd control in warzones.
“The troops have to patrol the streets of Baghdad and Kabul but in a situation where there’s a crowd of civilians and potential for aggression within those crowds they need some other option than lethal force or simply punching people,” he says.
“We offer a less lethal solution to managing angry crowds – if you can respond with a sponge round that doesn’t kill and gets them away.”
The Mole can also be used to breach doors and as it weighs less than a kilogram it would provide a more versatile option for soldiers in combat, and can also be used lethally.
Finnear says MSI’s third product is a remotely-operated firing system called Firestorm that has extraordinarily fast firing results.
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