Popular Science has an article regarding various weapons platforms being considered for the future. Most of them are old hat: rail guns, laser cannons, that kind of thing. But one sort of got my attention: a million round per minute machine cannon.
I’ve often thought that modern machine guns were rather primative. There are lots of mechanical parts, and plenty of opportunity for them to jam or break under stress. Why not simplify the mechanism and go all electric? Well, that’s apparently what the ultra-fast machine gun being developed does.
In its million round per minute configuration, the gun can produce a “wall” of metal: a plane or helicopter being fired on by, say, a shoulder launched guided missile could totally blanket the area its coming from, destroying the missile (and likely the person firing it) in mid air. Normal configurations would have the gun firing at 60,000 rounds per minute, which is still pretty fast…especially when you realize that configuration could be man-portable.
I don’t know why I find this intriguing, in a morbid kind of way: I guess partly because its something (non-mechanical machine cannons) I thought of 20 years ago. But also because its sort of an “extreme” extension of a fairly simple idea. Sort of like the “smart rocks” concept: who needs fancy explosives when you have a chunk of metal with enough kinetic energy to obliterate a city block?
I can see how scientists get caught up in this stuff, setting aside “moral” implications of building weapons. In their position, I’d probably be doing the same thing “Wow, a million rounds a minute….coooool”…