February 4, 2009 Defence technology specialist Metal Storm has successfully certified its semi-automatic 3GL grenade launcher as a safe shoulder-fired weapon. Metal Storm’s weapon technology uses computer-controlled electronic ignition and a system of stacked projectiles, to achieve a light, small non-mechanical gun with a very high firepower to weight ratio. The three-shot 40mm grenade launcher is light and compact enough to attach as an accessory to an assault rifle, while also providing a three-shot, semi-automatic firing capability, effectively trebling the reactive grenade firepower of an infantry squad.
Metal Storm CEO Dr Lee Finniear said 30 rounds of stacked non-explosive 40mm ammunition were shoulder-fired during the Brisbane tests, with high speed and conventional cameras recording the event for engineering analysis purposes. “With the certification of the 3GL for safe man-firing behind us, we can now demonstrate the weapon to military forces,” said Dr Finniear, also indicating that production of the 3GL would commence in 2010.
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“Soon, with the completion of the high explosive dual purpose (HEDP) ammunition qualification that is currently in process, we will be able to demonstrate the man-firing of both training practice and high explosive ammunition which will further expedite the sales process.
“The 3GL has matured rapidly by weapons development standards, with the design of the first stand-alone 3GL prototypes commencing less than three years ago.
“We have fired thousands of rounds over the past two years and performed a range of environmental, electromagnetic, shock and ballistics testing to certify the weapon for man-firing”
“Our next engineering step with 3GL is to complete the detailed ruggedizing of the weapon to qualify it for full military trials, while in parallel conducting a series of live fire demonstrations for military customers.”
Military evaluation company Nova Defence has independently reviewed the 3GL and reported that with appropriate planning and support, Metal Storm’s objectives for the weapon were “entirely achievable”.
Metal Storm is working with government agencies and departments, as well as industry, to develop a variety of systems utilising the Metal Storm non-mechanical, electronically fired stacked ammunition system. Metal Storm weapons can also utilize multiple barrels mounted together on one platform which allows varying munitions types to be deployed in a single, low cost, lightweight weapon system. Firing the weapons by electronic ignition requires no moving parts, allowing reliable long term unattended weapon operation.